BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS’
By Heath Schwartz
Six weeks of energetic fundraising efforts by 54 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies led to an incredible $4,786,239 being raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, it was announced Tuesday at the culminating celebration of the 27th annual Gypsy of the Year.
The grand total was revealed to thunderous applause by special guests Michael Cerveris (Fun Home), George Takei (Allegiance) and Julie White (Sylvia) following two festive afternoons of performances on December 7 and 8, 2015, at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Disney’s Aladdin. More than 150 of the most talented singers and dancers in the ensembles of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows performed original dances, songs and skits to the cheers of standing-room-only audiences.
Since 1989, the 27 editions of Gypsy of the Year (#GypsyOfTheYear) have raised $67.3 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Cerveris, Takei and White also presented awards to the top fundraising companies and for the best performances in this year’s show.
Here’s the breakdown of this year’s fundraising champions:
Top Fundraiser The Book of Mormon ($313,857)
1st Runner-Up Hamilton ($271,666)
2nd Runner-Up Jersey Boys ($264,374)
3rd Runner-Up Beautiful – The Carole King Musical ($168,955)
4th Runner-Up Kinky Boots ($161,242)
Top Fundraiser The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ($78,258)
Off-Broadway (Play or Musical)
Top Fundraiser The Humans ($34,122)
Top Fundraiser The Book of Mormon – Latter Day ($344,643)
1st Runner-Up Kinky Boots ($290,339)
2nd Runner-Up Wicked – Munchkinland ($284,399)
3rd Runner-Up Beautiful – The Carole King Musical ($191,901)
4th Runner-Up Newsies ($159,915)
The company of Kinky Boots took honors for best onstage presentation for a freestyle rap led by the show’s newest star, Wayne Brady, and surprise guest rappers Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda from this season’s Broadway sensation Hamilton. The trio showed off their improvisational chops, topping each other in a rap based entirely on words spontaneously provided by the audience.
The cast of The Lion King was runner-up with a gripping number created by Ray Mercer. Through carefully staged acrobatic movements set on graffitied wooden boxes and inspired by the spoken-word poetry of cast mate L. Steven Taylor, Mercer cast a cautious eye at society’s obsession with social media and self-image.
● Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge showcased the ultra sexy “Licorice Boys,” five sinewy male dancers in an erotic S&M ballet responding to the operatic calls of a whip-wielding dominatrix.
● Beset by a rash of illness and injury among its cast, Trip of Love turned to cast member Daniel Lynn Evans to become a “super swing” and perform all the roles of the ‘60s music lovefest himself.
Gypsy of the Year also included a special number recognizing national touring productions that fundraise. Choreographed by Geoffrey Goldberg, the number followed the national tour companies’ fast-paced journey from security at the airport to the stage and after-show collections for Broadway Cares.