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Gypsy Robes Given To City Museum

Three historical and colorful "gypsy robes" celebrating 24 Broadway shows from 1987-2000 will now be a part of the permanent costume and textile collection of the Museum of the City of New York. On April 9, Actors' Equity and the Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA) made the donation, marking the occasion with a special ceremony in the Council Room of the Actors' Equity building on West 46th Street.

The gypsy robes and the ritual that surrounds them date back more than 50 years. According to the ritual, a robe, dubbed the "gypsy robe," is passed along from Broadway musical to Broadway musical as a token of good luck for a long run. The chorus member who has the most experience receives the robe and wears it for the opening night ceremony in which he/she circles the cast several times while everyone touches the robe.

The veteran gypsy keeps the robe until the next Broadway opening at which time he passes it along to that production. Along the way, the robe is decorated, painted, patched, stitched, and signed by everyone in the show, becoming a fanciful patchwork for as long as it takes to cover the robe with various adornments.

Actors' Equity has already donated two gypsy robes into permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. Eight "retired" robes are still maintained by the union at its national headquarters on West 46th Street, and one is always on display in the Equity Audition Center.

Pollock Play Gets Free Reading

"Season to Season," the newest play by Richard Rashke, will have its first New York reading at the Common Basis Theatre, 750 Eighth Ave. (between 46th and 47th streets) on Sun., April 14 and Tues., April 16, both at 3 pm. The piece looks at the stormy marriage of Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, and will be directed by Shellen Lubin. The supporting cast includes Stephanie Braxton, Andria Laurie, and Elliot Meyers. The reading is free, and refreshments will be served. For further information and reservations: (800) 656-5163.

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