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Photos: Erica Mansfield Receives the Legacy Robe for ALMOST FAMOUS

Almost Famous is running on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Earlier this month, Almost Famous offically opened on Broadway and the legacy of the Legacy Robe continued with the latest recipient, Erica Mansfield.

Mansfield (Swing, Dance Captain, u/s Elaine) was recently seen in the Broadway company of Mrs. Doubtfire understudying the role of Miranda Hillard. Other Broadway credits include Kiss Me Kate, Bandstand, Finding Neverland, On the Town, On the Twentieth Century, Pippin, Evita, How to Succeed... and Broadway and Touring companies of Mamma Mia! She has played Cassie in regional and touring companies of A Chorus Line, Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! (North Shore Music Theatre), and Lily in Annie (North Carolina Theatre), to name a few. Film/TV credits include recurring as Tawny on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon Prime), "That Damn Michael Che" (HBO Max), and "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime).

Following the tradition, the Robe recipient circles the stage three times while cast members reach out and touch the Robe for good luck. The recipient of the Robe then visits each dressing room to "bless" the show. A decorative panel representing their show is then sewn onto the Robe, which is passed on to a recipient in the next chorus musical that opens. McCleskey was sadly not in attendance in Thursday night, but her fellow cast members celebrate din her honor just the same.

This ritual began in 1950 when Bill Bradley, a Chorus member of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, persuaded fellow Chorus member Florence Baum to give him her dressing gown. As a lark, he sent it to a friend, Arthur Partington, a Call Me Madam Chorus member, on opening night, telling him it had been worn by all the Ziegfeld beauties. Arthur added a rose from star Ethel Merman's gown and sent it to a chorus member on the next opening night of Guys and Dolls.

It was then passed from show to show and was often presented to a friend of the previous recipient or awarded to a chorus member based on popularity. Through the decades, the passing of the Robe became a specific ceremony with official rules stating how it is to be presented, worn and paraded on stage. Three retired Robes are at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts; there are also Robes at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and at the Museum of the City of New York. All others are with Actors' Equity.


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