The 24th edition of Gypsy of the Year will feature a tribute to celebrated lyricist Freb Ebb featuring Tony Award winners David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk, it was announced today.
Gypsy of the Year is the culmination celebration of six weeks of intensive fundraising by Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies. The show features a sensational display of the most talented singers and dancers in the ensemble of shows, known as "gypsies." Awards are presented to the top fundraisers and for the best presentation during the two performances.
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Noted Broadway personality and longtime Broadway Cares friend Seth Rudetsky ("Seth's Big Fat Broadway" on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio), will return for the fifth year in a row to host.
Ebb is best known for his legendary collaborations with composer John Kander. The team created a slew of hits including Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman and regularly wrote for Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, among others. Ebb died in 2004. As a stipulation in his will, he generously left Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS his share of royalties earned on his collective works – a donation totaling an astonishing $6.95 million so far.
This year's Gypsy of the Year tribute to Ebb will feature David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk, reuniting with the cast of Curtains, one of the last Broadway shows created by Kander and Ebb. A host of alumni from Chicago also will join in the tribute.
Gypsy of the Year's opening number will celebrate 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. The opening number is directed and choreographed by Rommy Sandhu with musical arrangements by Ben Cohen, music direction by Matt Doebler and orchestrated by Matt Aument. Assistant choreographers are Julie Barnes, Allison Plamondon and Courtney Young.
Celebrity presenters scheduled to appear at Gypsy of the Year include Tony Award winners Katie Finneran and Steve Kazee.
An esteemed panel of judges will select the best presentation award winners at Tuesday's performance. This year's judges are John Bolton, Judith Ivey, composer John Kander, Judy Kaye, producer Hal Luftig, Laura Osnes, Adam Pascal and Michael Shannon. Also joining the panel are Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, who both won judging spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September. The judges will be introduced by Peter and the Starcatcher stars Adam Chanler-Berat and Celia Keenan-Bolger.
The Broadway and Off-Broadway shows scheduled to perform at Gypsy of the Year include Bring It On: The Musical, Chicago, Evita, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, NEWSical The Musical, Newsies, Once, Rebecca and Rock of Ages. Complexions Contemporary Ballet also will perform for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares.
Last year, Gypsy of the Year raised an all-time high $4,895,253, pushing the competition's 23-year total to $49,031,973