The Gypsy Robe is part of the tradition of the Broadway Musical.
The term “Gypsy” comes from the necessary travel that Broadway chorus members have to engage in as they move from job to job.
The Gypsy Robe is used to open the musical and given to the chorus member with the most credits to their name. The Gypsy Robe ritual has this chorus member work three times counter clockwise around the stage. Afterwards other members of the cast will touch the robe.
It is though that Bill Bradley, from the chorus of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, sent a dressing gown to a colleague performing in Call Me Madam in 1950. A feathered rose was taken from Ethel Merman’s costume, added to the robe and then passed on to an unknown chorus member in Guys and Dolls.
The original robe has now been retired and it, with others, is kept in the Lincoln Center library, Actor’s Equity and at the Smithsonian.
In Pure Spirit
Which thespian traditions do you know?