The 26th annual edition of Gypsy of the Year raised a record-breaking $5,229,611 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS thanks to six weeks of fundraising by 64 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies.
The show's spirited opening number celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Wiz, one of the first large-scale, big-budget Broadway musicals to feature an all-black cast and winner of seven Tony Awards in 1975.
Triumphantly returning to the yellow brick road, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields and Ken Page were met with rapturous applause from the energized audience. They were joined for the special performance by Charl Brown, Carly Hughes , Christina Sajous, Ashley Stroud, Alton Fitzgerald White and Lillias White. The opening number was directed by T. Oliver Reid and choreographed by Brian Harlan Brooks with music direction by Ben Cohn and orchestrations by Adam Michael Kaufman.
The grand total was announced Tuesday, December 9, 2014, by special guests Hugh Jackman, Nathan Lane and Judith Light after two stellar performances of original dances, songs and skits by more than 200 “gypsies” from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.
Since 1989, the 26 editions of Gypsy of the Year (#gypsyoftheyear) have raised $62.4 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The previous record high for Gypsy of the Year fundraising was $4,895,253 set in 2011.
A standing-room-only audience at the New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Disney's Aladdin, erupted with cheers and applause as Jackman, Lane and Light also presented awards to the top fundraising companies and for the best performances in this year's show.
This year’s top overall fundraiser was The River, which stars Jackman and raised $549,725. For the first time in history, the top two fundraising plays – The River and It's Only a Play – raised more than $1 million.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
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