The Gypsy Robe is a ritual robe used for the opening of a Broadway Musical.
Broadway musical chorus members are referred to as gypsies to signify their continuous travel from job to job in show after show.
Who are Gypsies? Gypsies: Who They Are, What They Do, And The Story Behind The Gypsy Robe. History of magical garment called the Gypsy Robe. It brings with it luck, tradition, and a sense of community. In 1959, Bill Bradley, a dancer in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, borrowed a tacky dressing robe from a chorus girl or “gypsy” — as the singers and/or dancers in Broadway choruses call themselves. On opening night, he paraded through backstage bestowing blessings on the production. The musical was a major hit. A few nights later, Bradley sent the robe to his friend, another chorus gypsy.
Modeled by Judine Richards
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Gypsy Robe singing and dancing chorus in a Broadway musical.
Who are gypsies and what they do? Members of the singing and dancing chorus, if they are lucky, go from one show to another, never staying in a show forever. If they are in a touring company, they live out of their suitcases. They feel like the gypsies of old.The Gypsy Robe tradition started October 12, 1950, when Call Me Madam, starring Ethel Merman, opened on Broadway.
This tradition has been going for over 50 years and many, many Broadway musicals have come and gone.
Gypsy Robe ceremony?
The Gypsy Robe ceremony takes place about an hour to an hour-and -a-half before the opening-night performance. All of the performers stand onstage in a circle.
The person who received the robe for the previous Broadway musical will arrive with the robe, stand in the middle of the circle and announce the winner. The recipient puts on the off-white, muslin robe — which looks like a combination of a dressing grown and a kimono — and walks counterclockwise around the inside of the circle three times, as everyone in the circle touches it for good luck.
“People are wound up, frankly,” says Tom Miller, who was recently appointed director of outreach and career development at Actors’ Equity, and who — through his duties as one of Equity’s Chorus Councillors — has attended almost all the ceremonies over the last few years. “People are just excited.”
The above information comes from Actors’ Equity Association
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