Broadway’s Legacy Robe: An Ensemble Tradition
Written by Angela Tricarico – Cover Photo: Justin Prescott receiving the Legacy Robe for Head Over Heels, photo by Walter McBride
Each Broadway season, the Legacy Robe makes its journey around Broadway to every musical that opens with an ensemble. The Robe is given to the ensemblist in each show with the most Broadway ensemble credits. Each season, the Robe can be passed on anywhere from eight to sixteen times, varying with the number of ensemble musicals that open in any given season.
To each Legacy Robe recipient, the Robe has different and special meaning.
Justin Prescott, a two-time recipient who first received the Robe for 2017’s Paramour before last season’s Head Over Heels, likened the Robe to “a family blanket that is continuously passed down, generation after generation; an heirloom.” He said that receiving the Robe is particularly memorable because he felt like Diana Ross when asked to spin for photos.
The Robe truly is a patchwork, with spaces dedicated for each musical the Robe passes through.
Both Prescott and recent Legacy Robe recipient Ryan Worsing (The Cher Show) cite wardrobe teams on their shows who help with the concept and creation of their show’s patch.
When Prescott received the Robe during Head Over Heels, a patch for Paramour had already been added; his dresser came up with the idea to include action figures dressed like characters from the musical.
“It was quite cool seeing them create exact replicas of the costumes to fit action figures,” Prescott said.
Worsing says that the “killer” team at The Cher Show has yet to add their patch, “however, don’t doubt for a minute that it won’t be dripping in Bob Mackie-inspired sequins, feathers, and rhinestones!”
Ryan Worsing receiving the Legacy Robe for The Cher Show
Aside from the Robe being both beautiful and heavy, Worsing remembers patches from Sunset Boulevard, A Bronx Tale, Miss Saigon, Sunday in the Park with George, Bandstand, War Paint, Amelie, and a tail added by Cats when he received the Robe. However, one stood out.
“The most special to me is the Hello, Dolly! section over the left breast and shoulder, for obvious reasons. That meant a lot,” he said. Worsing was an original ensemblist in the 2017 Hello, Dolly! revival. “It’s extra special to wear it when some of your old shows are represented on it.”
For Prescott, the Robe is a symbol of hard work.
“As members of the ensemble, we sometimes go unnoticed so the Legacy Robe is a moment of recognition and acknowledgement by the community for the hard work and time I’ve put into my craft,” he said.
To Worsing, the Robe represents what it means to be on Broadway.
“The Legacy Robe is all about a commitment to the glory and heartache of Broadway, with all the blood, sweat, and tears you can muster,” he explained. “It’s a remarkable feat to perform on Broadway at all, but to be able to cobble a career together full of different shows, casts, creatives, and the experiences that go with them all and still perform eight shows a week this many years later… that’s the legacy. That’s what it’s all about, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
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Published in collaboration with The Ensemblist