Gypsy of the Year is an annual fundraising event for Broadway Cares: Equity Fights Aids. Broadway companies are invited to put on performances for a paying audience. They don't do selections from the show they're in, though; they write new material. Some casts show off variety acts while others go for parodies. Follies went for parody. The critically acclaimed and star-studded revival of Stephen Sondheim's look into the reunion of theater performers before their playhouse is torn to the ground will be closing in January to make room for a revival of Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice's Evita. In tribute to their own demise and rise of Evita, the cast of Follies stage their own funeral and protest the rise of the Eva Peron on Broadway again.
A few things for context:
- Follies started as a production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. Sure, the cast suggested a possible Broadway transfer, but there's never a guarantee. That we got this production of the show in NYC at all is a big deal.
- Yes, Ricky Martin is starring in the Evita revival. For how much he will figure into the advertising (just watch and see), you'd think he was playing Eva Peron.
- Elaine Paige originated the role of Eva Peron. She did not transfer with the show to Broadway.
- The introduction featured a standard "Requiem" (can't place the composer from the arrangement) interjected with "Follies" in the middle of the Latin.
- "Danny Boy" was the backing music for all dialog.
- The two Evita parodies were "Buenos Aires" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina."
This was a particularly polished parody. It played on some of the same themes of Follies, worked as a campaign message to boost the less than stellar box office, and promotes the revival cast recording that just came out. More importantly, it was put together for a good cause.