[Advertisement]

[Advertisement]

[Advertisement]

Follow Spot
by Michael Portantiere


    JETS, SHARKS, AND GYPSIES

    The 19th annual "Gypsy of the Year" competition was held at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Monday and Tuesday, December 17 and 18. Despite a major disruption caused by the stagehands' strike, the fundraising efforts leading up to the competition raised a record sum of more than $3,927,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The centerpiece of this year's show was a 50th anniversary tribute to West Side Story, featuring many of that epoch-making musical's original cast members. We are pleased to bring you some photos of this extra-special event.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Here's Ken LeRoy, the original Bernardo, in a tense moment with the Jets.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Among the other veterans of the original production of WSS on hand were (center, left to right) Tony Mordente, Mickey Calin (a.k.a. Michael Callan), and Harvey Evans.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    The original Maria, Carol Lawrence, was featured in "I Feel Pretty."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Anita forever: The mambo showcased the amazing Chita Rivera and company -- including Lisa Mordente, Chita's daughter by Tony Mordente, second in line.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    The WSS segment ended thrillingly with the "Tonight" ensemble.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    This year's "Gypsy of the Year" hosts were Xanadu's Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    ...plus sitcom veteran and current Drowsy Chaperone star Bob Saget, whose sex jokes throughout the proceedings proved to be controversial.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Among the many highlights of the show was the company of Avenue Q in a hilarious number about "the slow-moving tourists of Times Square."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    The company of Wicked presented "Dear Mr. President," an open letter to George Bush.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Jim Newman (center) and the cast of Curtains envisioned the stagehands/producers contretemps as a "Family Feud"-style battle.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Members of the cast of Off-Broadway's Frankenstein were very good sports about the brevity of their show's run.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA) offered a lovely piece titled "Summer Study."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    The companies of Stomp and Xanadu pooled their talents to create and present a terrific number titled (what else?) "Stompadu."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    "Pressure" was the title of the piece performed by the cast of The Color Purple.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    The company of Mamma Mia! imagined how their show might look if it were broadcast by a gay TV network.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Seth Rudetsky (right) and the cast of The Ritz recounted some gypsy folklore for the benefit of the younger generation.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Brian Letendre and the company of Mary Poppins offered a dance piece titled "The Eagle and the Hawk."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Laura Bell Bundy (far right) and the cast of Legally Blonde dissed The Hill Girls, who rather ineptly hosted the MTV telecast of the musical.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    George Wendt (a.k.a. Norm from Cheers) and the company of Hairpsray promised that "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    Reri Grist reprised "Somewhere," the beautiful, heartbreaking song she introduced 50 years ago in the original production of West Side Story.


    Photo by Michael Portantiere

    At the end of the show, David Hyde Pierce (Curtains), Rosie Perez (The Ritz), and Brian Stokes Mitchell (president of The Actors' Fund) took the stage to announce the winners in the various fundraising categories and the presentation category (The Color Purple), as well as the total amount of money raised for BC/EFA.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 12:32 AM | Item Link


    Michael Portantiere comes to BroadwayStars with more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for such media outlets as TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has also contributed articles and reviews to AfterElton.com, Playbill, and Stagebill, and has written notes for several major cast albums. Additionally, Michael is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several notable websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.)
    He can be reached at michael@broadwaystars.com


    The last five columns written by Michael Portantiere:

    07/13/2010: Presidential Material

    07/04/2010: Hardy Boy

    06/29/2010: High School Stars

    06/21/2010: Falling in Love Again

    06/17/2010: A Meeting of the 'mos (and Their Friends)

    For a listing of all features written by Michael, click here.

[Advertisement]

[Advertisement]