When the GYPSY OF THE YEAR Competition was first staged in 1989, the AIDS epidemic had already taken from us a staggering number of people and devastated the theatre community.
An activist from the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, stage and screen star Judith Light, currently featured in the stellar company of the Broadway hit Lombardi, led a moment of silence at this year’s 22nd Annual GYSPY OF THE YEAR. Judith gave a poignant tribute to those we’ve lost over nearly three decades and those who today still face the challenges of AIDS, while reaching out to anyone grieving loss or facing serious or debilitating crises. Her words embraced the entire audience.
“People infected and affected by the virus lived in fear and desperate sadness, too often isolated and alone,“ Judith said. “Let us now together take a moment to recommit to reaching beyond ourselves to those who need us most with gratitude for the simple fact that we are together here.”
The tradition of a moment of silence began at the first edition of the GYPSY OF THE YEAR Competition in 1989. Host Jonathan Hadary, then starring in Tyne Daly’s acclaimed revival of Gypsy, delivered the first moment to a hushed audience that filled the St. James Theatre, not quite knowing what to expect from this brand new event. It has been included as part of the GYPSY OF THE YEAR Competition ever since and remains the only Broadway Cares event to include what today has become a special moment of remembrance and reflection.
“No one in the audience that day had not been deeply affected by this disease in some way,” Judith, a longtime friend to Broadway Cares and people with AIDS, told this year’s audience.
“In those days it would have been impossible to gather for an afternoon such as this and not remember what brought us all together. So today, 22 years later, we take a moment to reflect on those we love who cannot be here and for those whose voices still cannot be heard.”