Tony Award–winning musical Follies opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on Monday, September 12, 2011. Prior to the show, the magical and exquisite tradition “Gypsy Robe Ceremony” was held and cast member Jennifer Foote received the Gypsy Robe.
So what is a “gypsy robe ceremony”? In 1959 Bill Bradly, a chorus dancer inGentleman Prefer Blondes, borrowed a robe from the Florence Baum and sent it to friend Arthur Partinglton in the chorus of Call Me Madam for “good luck.” Arthur then passed on the robe to other chorus musicals. Since then, “gypsy robe ceremony” became symbolic of luck and a tradition that continues till this day on the opening night of every Broadway chorus musical.
As per tradition the gypsy, a chorus member who exudes dedication and professionalism, hands over the robe to a member of the cast who embodies certain special qualities and has usually appeared in most shows. It is the wearer of the robe who spreads luck to the production; he/she must visit all of the dressing rooms and ‘bless’ the show and all of its members.
Proud recipient of the robe Jenifer Foote was joined by a 28–piece orchestra and the star–studded cast of Follies that included two–time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters (Sally Durant Plummer), four–time Tony nominee Jan Maxwell (Phyllis Rogers Stone), three–time Emmy Award nominee Ron Raines (Benjamin Stone) and two–time Tony nominee Danny Burstein (Buddy Plummer).
Directed by Eric Schaeffer (Putting it Together, Million Dollar Quartet), Follies just came back from a successful run at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC. Whether the iconic and historic gypsy robe brings good luck is really not important. What is really important is that the robe signifies the camaraderie and tradition in the Broadway community.