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Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!

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A long-standing opening night tradition on the Great White Way, the fabled Gypsy Robe is bestowed upon a veteran Broadway chorus member for each opening production. In what has now become a theatrical ritual, originating on Broadway 60 years ago, the latest receipient was THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS cast member J.D. Webster at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York City.

At the song and dance ceremony, cast members who were making their Broadway debuts were acknowledged at the center of the stage, and then Kobak proceeded to circle the room in the robe in celebration with the entire cast.

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.

The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess stars Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier,  Phillip Boykin as Crown, Nikki Renée Daniels as Clara, Joshua Henry as Jake, Christopher Innvar as Detective, Bryonha Marie Parham as Serena and NaTasha Yvette Williams as Mariah as well as Allison Blackwell, Roosevelt André Credit, Trevon Davis, Joseph Dellger, Wilkie Ferguson, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Heather Hill, David Hughey, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Alicia Hall Moran, Cedric Neal, Phumzile Sojola, Nathaniel Stampley, Julius Thomas III, J.D. Webster and Lisa Nicole Wilkerson.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway)

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Westphal & Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway)

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Nikki Renee Daniels

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Joshua Henry & Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Diane Paulus with Suzan-Lori Parks

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Norm Lewis & Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Audra McDonald & Nikki Renee Daniels

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin & David Alan Grier

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin & David Alan Grier

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin & David Alan Grier

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Carmen Ruby Floyd

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Nikki Renee Daniels & Norm Lewis

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Joshua Henry

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Audra McDonald & Norm Lewis

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Nikki Renee Daniels & Carmen Ruby Floyd

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin & Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Phillip Boykin & Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Cast members making their Broadway Debut

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Cast of The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess 

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Cast Members making their Broadway Debut

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier, J.D. Webster, Bryonha Marie Parham, Joshua Henry,Audra McDonald & Norm Lewis

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Diane Paulus with Suzan-Lori Parks

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Westphal, J.D. Webster & Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway)

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Westphal, J.D. Webster & Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway)

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Westphal, J.D. Webster & Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway)

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster & Company 

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster & Company

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
NaTasha Yvette Williams, David Alan Grier, J.D. Webster & Company

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster with Audra McDonald, Phillip Boykin, Joseph Dellger & Company

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster with Norm Lewis & Audra McDonald

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier & Company

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier, J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Christopher Innvar, J.D. Webster & Company

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster with Diane Paulus

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster with Diane Paulus

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Nikki Renee Daniels & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster with Diane Paulus

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster & Suzan-Lori Parks

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Carmen Ruby Floyd & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
David Alan Grier & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Joshua Henry & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Kearran Giovanni (Gypsy Robe Recipient for Hugh Jackman-Back On Broadway) & J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
Audra McDonald, J.D. Webster & Norm Lewis

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
J.D. Webster

Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!

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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.


 
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