Gypsy Robe

Definition

Theater

  • A white satin dressing gown that came to be considered a luckycharm on Broadway. The robe's original owner was Florence Baum, a'gypsy' in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949). During the showanother dancer, Bill Bradley, sometimes wore it backstage for goodluck; when the show was a great hit he lent it to a friend openingin Call Me Madam (1950). Call Me Madam was also a greatsuccess and a superstition was born.

    The robe subsequently passed from company to company, alwaysbeing presented to a member of the chorus who regarded it as a greathonour. The recipient either wore it when the cast assembled or donnedit for ritual visits to each dressing room before a performance. Eventuallythe robe became so covered with souvenirs (photos, a piece of costume,a programme, etc.), that it began to disintegrate. Although a wardrobemistress for the revived Can-Can (1981) tried desperatelyto repair the robe, she failed and the show closed within a week.The robe was then presented to the drama collection at New York'sLincoln Center.

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