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by Michael Portantiere

Remembered Forever at BC/EFA

  • The 23rd annual Gypsy of the Year competition, held at the New Amsterdam Theatre, started off with a real blast from the past: A 40th-anniversary reunion of original Broadway cast members of Grease. After that, it was one terrific presentation after another by the companies of various Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. This fall's fundraising efforts on behalf of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS raised $4,895,253 -- a significant percentage of that thanks to the heroic efforts of Hugh Jackman, who personally raised the astounding sum of $857,740 by auctioning various personal items (!!) during his run in Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway. Here are my photos of this year's GOTY.



    Walter Bobbie (Roger), Adrienne Barbeau (Rizzo), Barry Bostwick (Danny Zuko), and Carole Demas (Sandy Dumbrowski) from the original Grease. Remembered forever!


    It's raining on prom night...


    "Freddy, My Love," featuring Katie Hanley (the original Marty), who was also in the original cast of Godspell.


    Chang-chang, changitty-chang-she bop, that's the way it should be!


    Among the many celebs to appear on the New Amsterdam stage during the proceedings were Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli -- in the persons of Amy Griffin and Christine Pedi.


    The show's highlights included presentations by the company of Chicago...


    ...and the company of Mamma Mia!.


    The Follies company noted that they'll soon be yielding the Marquis Theatre to the revival of Evita. They brought out one of their stars, Elaine Paige -- who happens to have created the role of Evita in the original London production -- to wow the crowd with a few measures of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina."


    A number titled "Everyday I'm Shufflin," directed and choreographed by Shea Sullivan, celebrated the participation of national touring companies in the BC/EFA fundraising.


    No question, the most hilarious presentation of the afternoon had the kids from Mary Poppins performing scenes from "junior" versions of such inappropriate-for-youngsters plays as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


    Here's the company of Memphis in "What's Goin' On."


    Two lithe lads from Naked Boys Singing in "Forever Naked."


    The company of The Lion King performs "In Your Left Ear," directed and choreographed by Ray Mercer.


    The fabulous Leslie Uggams proved herself a great sport by appearing with the company of Anything Goes in a number that made fun of her obliteration of the lyrics of "June is Bustin' Out All Over" in a performance that has become infamous thanks to YouTube.


    Adam Riegler, a.k.a. Puggsley, collected for The Addams Family rather than for BC/EFA (because his show hasn't recouped during its Broadway run).


    The presentation award of the competition was won by the company of Billy Elliot for their performance of Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," with choreography by Sarah Burns (adapted from the show's original choreography).


    At the end of the show, Broadway megastars Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, and Daniel Radcliffe took the stage to announce the winners in the various categories.


    Here's to Hugh!

    Published on Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    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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