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Exclusive Photo Coverage: Inside THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY's Gypsy Robe Ceremony!

The company of The Bridges of Madison County just celebrated their February 20 opening night on Broadway with the famed Gypsy Robe ritual. BroadwayWorld was on hand for the event and brings you exclusive photo coverage below!

The Gypsy Robe began in 1950, when Bill Bradley, in the chorus of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, borrowed a dressing gown from Chorus member Florence Baum and sent it to a friend in CALL ME MADAM on opening night Oct 12, 1950 saying it was worn by all the Ziegfeld beauties and would "bless" the show. A cabbage rose from Ethel Merman's gown was added and the robe was passed along to next Broadway musical on opening night. The tradition evolved so that the robe is now presented to the "gypsy" who has performed the most Broadway musicals on a chorus contract. Along the way, the robe is decorated, painted, patched, stitched, and signed by everyone in the show, becoming a fanciful patchwork for an entire Broadway season.

Recognizing their cultural and historic value, Gypsy Robes can now be viewed at two of Equity's Offices. The National Headquarters in New York now houses two of the historic Robes. The Robe from the 2008-2009 season is on display in the lobby of the New York Visitors Center. The 2007-2008 Robe, dedicated to Broadway veteran Adrian Bailey, can be viewed on the fourteenth floor Council lobby.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

high res photos

Jason Robert Brown

Broadway Debuts: Tim Wright, Ephie Aardema, Charlie Franklin, Jessica Vosk, Whitney Bashor and Luke Marinkovich

Jason Robert Brown and daughter

Tim Wright, Cass Morgan and Director Bartlett Sher

Derek Klena

Steven Pasquale

Jennifer Smith and Company

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Walter McBride As a 14 year old youth, Walter was transfixed by his first Broadway Show, the original production of 'GREASE'. His Journey to celebrity photojournalism began that fateful night. Meeting, photographing and getting to know the cast inspired him to spend his professional life doing what he loved. Walter moved to Manhattan and for a leading role as a Photographer & Photo Researcher. Currently headlining in New Jersey with his partner Richard and family members Dali (Jack Russell) & Gala (Schnoodle). Recently he made his Broadway debut sharing the stage with Hugh Jackman in 'Hugh Jackman on Broadway' as well as receiving the Actors' Equity Association Gypsy Spirit Award. Walter McBride Photography is syndicated worldwide by Corbis/AP.