GYPSY OF THE YEAR Raises $3,902,608 for BC/EFA; THE BOOK OF MORMON Tour Tops Fundraisers
This year’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR tribute to Ebb featured Hyde Pierce and Monk leading a reunion of the cast of Curtains and alumni from Chicago in a stirring finale tribute of "Show People," staged and choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter.
The show's opening number celebrated the history of Broadway dance, spotlighting iconic choreography from West Side Story, Fosse, 42nd Street, The Will Rogers Follies, Crazy for You, Legally Blonde and A Chorus Line. It was directed and choreographed by Rommy Sandhu with music arrangements by Ben Cohn and lyrics by Stacia Fernandez.
This year’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR was again hosted by noted Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky (“Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio), who presented his trademark "deconstructions" of over-the-top musical moments. Rudetsky shared one of his own over-the-top moments: a recording of a 12-year-old Seth performing a unique version of "Tomorrow" from Annie. He was joined by surprise guest stars Andrea McArdle, the original Annie, and Lilla Crawford, who currently stars as Annie in the hit Broadway revival.
The 24th Annual GYPSY OF THE YEAR also featured a variety of other appearances that left the sold-out crowd cheering:
The cast of Chicago saluted the groundbreaking work of that show's legendary choreographer, Bob Fosse, with two numbers recreated from the 1999 Broadway show Fosse. Grammy Award nominee Billy Ray Cyrus, who currently plays Billy Flynn in the Broadway production, started the tribute with an a capella version of "Bye Bye Blackbird" before turning the stage over to his castmates, who delivered a high-energy recreation of Fosse’s legendary choreography of "Sing, Sing, Sing."
The singing and non-dancing ensemble members of Disney's hit Newsies comically lamented their plight, wishing they could "dance like the Newsies," the high-kicking, acrobatic, attention-getting young newsboys of the show's title.
Members from the cast of Broadway's ill-fated Rebecca, which never opened this season despite several attempts, grieved their almost-run on Broadway in a comical tune that poked fun at the production's well-publicized missteps.
With younger cast members from Mamma Mia! texting seriously around him, Bryan Scott Johnson and special guest Len Cariou remembered – to the tune of "Yesterday" – the "old days" when people talked to each other backstage rather than today's constant obsession with tweeting and texting.
In a spirited number, choreographed by David Marquez, 21 dancers swinging 42 of the well-recognized red BC/EFA collection buckets saluted the 17 national touring shows that together raised $1.9 million of the event’s grand total.
GYPSY OF THE YEAR also featured outstanding and often show-stopping performances by the companies of Evita, Mary Poppins, Newsical The Musical, Once and Rock of Ages.
Celebrity presenters included Tony Award winners Katie Finneran (Annie) and Steve Kazee (Once). Introducing shows that helped fundraise but did not perform were Wayne Alan Wilcox (Chaplin) and Billy Magnussen and Genevieve Angelson (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). Tony Award winner Judith Light (Other Desert Cities) returned once again to lead an emotional moment of silence.
Judges included John Bolton (A Christmas Story), Judith Ivey (The Heiress), composer John Kander (Chicago, Cabaret), Judy Kaye (Nice Work If You Can Get It), producer Hal Luftig (Evita, Kinky Boots), Laura Osnes (Cinderella), Adam Pascal (Memphis) and Michael Shannon (Grace). Also joining the panel were Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, who both won spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September. The judges were introduced by Peter and the Starcatcher stars Adam Chanler-Berat and Celia Keenan-Bolger.