Photo Coverage: Inside the PORGY & BESS Gypsy Robe Ceremony!
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
Nikki Renee Daniels
Audra McDonald & Nikki Renee Daniels
Nikki Renee Daniels & Norm Lewis
Nikki Renee Daniels & Carmen Ruby Floyd
Cast members making their Broadway Debut
Cast of The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess
Cast Members making their Broadway Debut
J.D. Webster & Company
J.D. Webster & Company
David Alan Grier & Company
Nikki Renee Daniels & J.D. Webster