In light of recent discussion to change the name of “The Gypsy Robe,” podcast guest Betsy Struxness shares her opinion on the name change.
My first reaction to hearing the name might change was also negative. Upon reading everything, I’m leaning towards the change. And here’s why.
Ensemble members aren’t truly respected in the Broadway community the way they should be. The ensemble offers a vast array of experience as a unit. The more shows you do, the more experience you gain. With every contract we get more intelligent about the work. I recently ran into a term I fell in love with: doyen.
The moment I read that definition I was like, THAT’S ME!
That is also the perfect definition for the recipient of the Robe.
Perhaps we can look at this as an opportunity to relieve some folks of unneeded pain in a stressful time where people are needing to be seen, and elevate the status of the ensemble at the same time. Let’s choose a new name that reflects the depth of our knowledge and the fortitude we have to have to succeed in this field.
Let us not staunchly dig in our heels over something painful to others just because it’s tradition to us. The ensemble is more inclusive and caring than that. We can be leaders. We ARE leaders. Let’s give our blessing and usher in a kind and loving embrace of a request from people in pain. We can do that and still be the same magnificent, hard-working, show-jumping, talented forces that accepted the Robe with grace and humility.
I will always be a proud recipient. I don’t need the name to remain the same so long as we change it to something that garners the respect befitting the person who receives it.
I agree that there are larger things to focus on. So let’s start small. Let’s start here by listening, breathing, showing compassion and growing.
This is totally kumbaya/can’t we all just get along/world peace kind of stuff, but like, I know I can’t be the only one who is tired of seeing others get hurt. I just want a far kinder world than what currently exists and we have to start somewhere.