Can you imagine seeing Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, and Daniel Radcliff on the same stage at the same time? Well if you were a member of the audience at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Tuesday, December 6th, you were lucky enough to see these stars and many more as they were a part of The 23rd Annual Gypsy of the Year, put on by Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids.
I was fortunate to see this amazing show on Tuesday. I can’t remember ever seeing so much talent in one theatre before. The audience was filled with musicians, producers, directors, and fans that are an important part of the Broadway family.
The opening number of the show featured the original cast of Grease. They were together again for a special 40-year anniversary tribute. It was so much fun seeing Barry Bostwick who was the original Danny. He still has the strut and Grease hairstyle. Adrienne Barbeau, who played Rizzo looked amazing. I bet she would still fit in her original costumes. Each actor looked happy to be on stage and it was so much fun to see them 40 years later.
I was thrilled to see Ben Cohn’s name on the program. He was credited as the creator, music director, and arranger of the Grease opening. Most Clay Aiken fans already know how talented Ben is as a musician. He seems to be the “go-to” guy for special shows on Broadway!
A highlight of the program for me was the performance by the Broadway cast of Billy Elliot. The show is closing on January 8, 2012 so this was a farewell appearance at Gypsy of the Year. All the actors who have played the role of Billy were on stage. It was fun to see some of the talented young men who have grown about a foot since their time in the show.
Seventeen Broadway and Off-Broadway companies performed on Tuesday, which means that there were more than 300 actors, singers, and dancers on the stage during the afternoon.
Much like the Easter Bonnet Competition, the Gypsy show is a competition between the different shows. The shows have six weeks to fundraise for BC/EFA. Awards are presented to the top fundraisers. They also have awards for the best presentation during the show.
Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, and Daniel Radcliffe presented the awards for the show.
Seth Rudetsky who is a musician, actor, and columnist for Playbill.com kept the show moving as the host for the afternoon. Judith Light gave a tribute to those people who lost their fight with Aids. It was a solemn tribute that ended with a moment of silence.
Last year, the Gypsy of the Year raised $3,776,720. From all reports, this year topped that amount. All the official numbers will be available soon.
After the performance, I was able to attend the celebration dinner hosted by Playbill Magazine. It was held upstairs in Sardi’s. The first people I ran into were Ben Cohn and Sean McDaniel. Ben shared that they will be in Raleigh for the Gala. I think that we have something very special to look forward to.
So…this was my adventure in New York today. Is there a tie-in to Clay Aiken? Well, the best I can do is say that Clay has certainly supported Broadway Care/Equity Fights Aids. He is the one who introduced me to the very worthwhile organization.
Only a few more days until we meet in Raleigh. Are you packed yet?