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    Posted April 7, 2011

Gypsy Robe

Eric Sciotto Kicks Off His Heels To Accept Gypsy Robe in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Eric Sciotto
Photo: Walter McBride

Gams! Tony Sheldon and Eric Sciotta
Photo: Walter McBride

The fabulous bus ride across the Australian desert has arrived at the Palace Theater in New York, where PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT made its Broadway debut on Sunday, March 20th, 2011.

Before the curtain rose on the musical's opening night performance, Equity's National Chorus Business Representative David Westphal welcomed the entire cast, including stars Will Swenson, Nick Adams and Tony Sheldon, who gathered onstage, to the traditional Gypsy Robe Ceremony. Lisa Gadja, who received the robe for ELF, read the history of the robe and then, with breathless excitement, announced Eric Sciotto as the newest recipient of the Gypsy Robe.

Lisa Gadja (ELF) read the robe's history before announcing the newest recipient
Photo: Walter McBride

Eric, who's credits include the Broadway productions of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, AIDA, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, SWEET CHARITY, PAL JOEY and ROCK OF AGES to name a few, joyously donned the robe. He kicked off the pink stiletto pumps he wears as part of his costume, and made the traditional counter-clockwise circle three times, touching each person's hand for good luck.

The ceremony was a first for a number of cast members, all of whom were making their Broadway debuts. They were: Tom Allison, Jacqueline B. Arnold, C. David Johnson, Luke Mannikus, Keala Settle, Amaker Smith, Esther Stilwell, Ashton Woerz and Mr. Sheldon, who originated his role of Bernadette in the 2006 world premiere of PRISCILLA and has played the character more than 1200 times.

Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, Nick Adams
Photo: Walter McBride

Those on hand for the ceremony included many of the producing and management teams, director Simon Phillips, members of all the various crew departments and staff of Actors' Equity. Among the many former Gypsy Robe recipients were Richard E. Korthaze, Harvey Evans, Eric Sciotto, Bill Nabel, Eileen Casey, Adrian Bailey, David Eggers, Amber Stone, Lisa Gajda, Tommar Wilson, and Pi Douglass, as well as Robe historian Gloria Rosenthal and Gypsy Robe Volunteer Terry Marone. Also on hand for her first Gypsy Robe ceremony as Equity's new Executive Director was Mary McColl, and Equity's Second Vice President Rebecca Kim Jordan.

After the ceremony and congratulations were completed, a special moment occurred when Producer Garry McQuinn spoke to the crowd gathered onstage. He expressed his thanks for the welcome to Broadway and said that the Gypsy Robe ceremony was indeed a highlight to the PRISCILLA legacy. He also acknowledged that this was an important part of being in the Broadway community. He then showed video greetings from other PRISCILLA companies.

Afterwards, Eric, still dressed in the Gypsy Robe, made the traditional visit to each dressing room to "bless" the musical's opening. Then the cast of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT played their opening night performance, and captured the hearts of the audience!

Cast members making their Broadway Debuts w/ AEA ED Mary McColl. This was Ms. McColls' first Gypsy Robe ceremony.
Photo: Walter McBride

Past Robe Recipients
Back L-R: Richard Korthaze, Harvey Evans, Eric Sciotto, Bill Nabel, Eileen Casey, Adrian Bailey
Front L-R: David Eggers, Amber Stone, Lisa Gajda, Tommar Wilson, Pi Douglass

Photo: Walter McBride

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