Spotlight Update

Remember choreographer Ray Mercer? I thought so. He continues to do great things and here is an exciting update!

The Broadway community does a number of fundraising events each year to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Gypsy of the Year, Easter Bonnet and Broadway Bares to name a few.
presenters and winners/Gypsy of the Year 2008

The 20th Annual Gypsy of the year competition/performances were Monday and Tuesday December 8th and 9th at the New Amsterdam Theater (Mary Poppins). Many Broadway shows, off Broadway shows and National tours work for 6 weeks prior to the show to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Cast, crew and stage managers from each show come together to create unique ways to raise money during the 6-week period. This often includes selling signed posters and other show related memorabilia.

The Gypsy of the year performance is a huge event for the theater community. Performances are open to the public and tickets are very reasonable. Theater veterans are on hand to speak about the importance of supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS and cast members from many Broadway shows present performance pieces created during the 6-week fund raising period. Awards are presented for top fundraisers and the best presentation.

The superstars of fundraising this year:
The cast of Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was 1st Runner up raising $203,746, exceeding the previous record for a play. They auctioned the jeans that Radcliffe wears in the show to the highest bidders! Good work guys!! The Chicago company of Jersey Boys was the top overall fund-raiser with a total of $220,000.

The total amount raised by all participating shows this year was

Best Presentation

The cast of Equus was also 1st runner-up for best performance with a number featuring Radcliffe and the Equus "horsemen." The cast of the Lion King was awarded 1st place for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" choreographed by Ray Mercer.

Here is a look at the Lion King presentation. Below is behind the scenes rehearsal footage followed by clips from the actual performance. Enjoy!

Next stop for Ray is Denver where he will set a new work on the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company. Keep and eye out for his name in your Playbills, it's just a matter of time before he's choreographing Broadway shows as well!