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by Michael Portantiere

The Gypsy in Carol Channing's Soul

  • It was the greatest comeback since Dolly Levi strutted down the stairs of the Harmonia Gardens. Broadway icon Carol Channing was feted in the opening number of this year's Gypsy of the Year show at the New Amsterdam Theater, which celebrated the culmination of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' fall fundraising drive. Here are my pics of this unforgettable event.


    Hello, Carol...


    ...well, hello, Carol...


    ...it's so nice to have you back where you belong!


    After the opening number, which of course brought the house down, Channing was brought back on stage by Lee Roy Reams and Tyne Daly.


    She was then presented with a huge cake, and the audience sang to her in celebration of her upcoming 90th birthday.


    Here's a moment from a skit by the cast of Off-Broadway's My Big Gay Italian Wedding.


    Julie Nelson and Rudi Maccagi, from the company of Rock of Ages, earned an ovation for their stunningly acrobatic dance routine.


    Adam Riegler, who plays Pugsley in The Addams Family, offered some hilarious words of encouragement to the casts of shows that have been "bullied" by the critics: "It Gets Better!


    A celebration of The Gypsy Robe featured the courageous Adrian Bailey.


    The company of Billy Elliott anticipated the next Broadway revival of Annie...


    ...and presented Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge as a highly sloshed Miss Hannigan.


    The company of The Lion King offered a moving tribute to their castmate Shannon Tavares, the young girl who lost her battle with leukemia earlier this year.


    Molly Shannon recreated her famous Sally O'Malley character and led the cast of Promises, Promises in a screamingly funny sketch.


    Lin-Manuel Miranda, co-creator and original star of In the Heights, rejoined the company of that show for their final appearance in a Gypsy of the Year competition.


    At the end of the show, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sean Hayes took the stage to announce the winners in the individual categories and to tell the audience that the combined efforts of the companies of all the Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring shows who participated had raised nearly $3.8 million for BC/EFA.

    Published on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

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