Easter Bonnet Competition April 21 and 22 Ends BC/EFA Fundraising Season with Color and Pizzazz
By: Ellis Nassour
A roster of theater’s most fashionable stars performing in novel original skits will highlight Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ very haute couture 28th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition fundraiser at the Minskoff Theatre, home to the long-running musical hit Disney’s The Lion King, on April 21 at 4:30 P.M. and April 22 at 2 P.M.
Stars appearing are Bryan Cranston, Fran Drescher, James Franco, Idina Menzel, and Denzel Washington.
Cranston, Drescher, Menzel, and Washington will announce the top fundraising and best presentation awards at the Tuesday performance. Franco and his Of Mice and Men co-stars, Chris O’Dowd and Leighton Meester, will introduce the competition’s judges.
Stars scheduled to appear include Brandon Victor Dixon (Motown), Hunter Foster (The Bridges of Madison County), Ramin Karimloo (Les Miz), Andy Karl (Rocky), Ron Kunene (The Lion King), LaChanze (If/Then), Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), Jefferson Mays (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder), Cass Morgan (The Bridges of Madison County), Jessie Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder), Christopher Sieber (Matilda), and Karen Ziemba (Bullets Over Broadway).
Rory O’Malley (original cast, The Book of Mormon) and original Matilda Sophia Gennusa will appear in the always show-stopping opening number, directed and choreographed by Al Blackstone. Hugh Panaro (The Phantom of the Opera) will close the show with the traditional performance of "Help Is on the Way," BC/EFA’s Easter Bonnet anthem.
The show also will include a special appearance by Kim Zimmer (Wicked) in the national touring show presentation, choreographed by Adam Fleming.
Productions scheduled to perform and present bonnets include After Midnight, Avenue Q, Cinderella, Disaster!, If/Then, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia!, Mothers and Sons, Murder for Two, Newsies, Once, and The Lion King.
There will be a special performance by MOMIX representing Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares, and special presentations by BC/EFA’s affiliate organizations: ASTEP, Broadway Green Alliance, Broadway Impact, Broadway Serves and R.Evolución Latina.
The Easter Bonnet judges will include costume designer Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots) and actors Christopher Hanke (Buyer and Cellar), Carly Rae Jepsen (Cinderella), Michael McKean (All the Way), Jim Norton (Of Mice and Men), Patrick Page (Casa Valentina), Annie Potts (Pippin), Anthony Rapp (If/Then) and the high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the September’s Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, Eric Forst and Peg Wendlandt.
The Easter Bonnet Competition (#bcefabonnets) is a two-day colorful and hilarious spectacular that celebrates six weeks of intensive BC/EFA fundraising efforts by Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national touring productions. Very much like the Gypsy of the Year fundraiser, there’ll be tons of surprises and celebrity guests.
Last year’s Easter Bonnet Competition raised $4,250,542. Since 1987, the 27 editions of this highly-anticipated annual event have brought in more than $53-million.
Performers from participating Broadway and touring companies dance, and wear strikingly creative and elaborate Easter bonnets created especially for the event.
The winner of the Easter Bonnet Competition is the company that raises the most for BC/EFA amazing array of outreach program. Companies mount intense competition doing every imaginable fundraising stunt possible [short of selling themselves] to part donations from audiences’ hands.
Just as coveted are the awards, decided by a panel of celebrity judges, for best bonnet design and best presentation.
Easter Bonnet hosts and the stars joining more than 200 of Broadway and Off-Broadway’s most talented cast members will be announced soon.
Tickets are from $30, $50, $130, $250 (priority seating), and $375 (VIP) and available online at broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770 X. 268. Tax-deductible donations are welcome.
In addition to the post-show bucket brigades at theatre exits, shows sell autographed posters and Playbills, and often have auctions.
BC/EFA nationwide services for people with AIDS and critical illnesses. Annual grants go to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations and service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
The Easter Bonnet Competition is sponsored by The New York Times and United Airlines.
For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, and on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA; and watch videos at youtube.com/BCEFAtv
Click Here to Capture the 27th Annual video highlights from BC/EFA