By: Ellis Nassour
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ very haute couture 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition fundraiser hits the runway of the Minskoff Theatre on April 22 at 4:30 P.M. and April 23 at 2 P.M. with a roster of theater’s most fashionable stars.
Joining more than 200 of Broadway and Off-Broadway’s most talented cast members be Victoria Clark, Robert Cuccioli, Harvey Fierstein, Katie Finneran, Tom Hanks, Harriet Harris, Nathan Lane, Cyndi Lauper, Christopher McDonald, Judy McLane, Andrea Martin, Marin Mazzie, Jessie Mueller, Billy Porter, Peter Scolari and surprise guests. What? No Bette Midler? Seemingly, it would be impossible for her to miss this incredible, stellar event – especially since she’s been a major booster of BC/BFA fundraising through the years. Last year’s event raised more than $3.6-million!
Tickets are from $20, $40, $120, $200 (priority seating), and $350 (VIP) and available online at broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770 X. 268. Tax-deductible donations are welcome.
Two-time Oscar-winner Hanks (Lucky Guy), Grammy-winner Lauper (Kinky Boots) and four-time Tony-winner Fierstein (Kinky Boots) will present the Top Fundraiser and Best Presentation Awards at Tuesday’s performance. Awards are also presented to the Broadway play, national tour and Off-Broadway production raising the most money.
Three-time Tony nominee Mazzie (Next to Normal, Carrie revival) will star in an original opening number, directed and choreographed by Al Blackstone. Tony nominee Mueller (Nice Work If You Can Get It) will close the show with the traditional performance of "Help is on the Way," BC/EFA’s Easter Bonnet anthem.
Also appearing will be Shalita Grant (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Ann Harada (Cinderella), Andy Karl (Jersey Boys), Ron Kunene (The Lion King), Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), (Mamma Mia!); and, among others, Mark Nelson (My Name is Asher Lev).
Productions scheduled to perform and present bonnets include A Christmas Story: The Musical, Ann, Annie, Avenue Q, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Chicago, Cinderella, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Once, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King and Wicked.
There’ll be a performance by MOMIX representing BC/EFA’s Dancers Responding to AIDS; an encore appearance by "Officer Lockstock and Little Sally" (Don Richard and Jennifer Cody); a presentation of touring shows, choreographed by Courtney Young, featuring bonnets from Les Miz and Mary Poppins; and a bonnet presented by the Broadway Green Alliance.
Two-time Tony-winner Lane (The Nance) and Tony-winner Martin (Pippin) will introduce the competition’s judges: Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes, choreographer Josh Bergasse, Grammy-nominee Deborah Cox (Jekyll & Hyde), Tony winner Cady Huffman (The Nance), and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Jekyll and Hyde), Emmy winner Holland Taylor (Ann), and Michael Urie (Buyer & Cellar). Joining the panel, presided over by Jujamcyn Theatres executive vice president and BC/EFA board president Paul Libin, will be Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, high bidders on VIP packages at September’s Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction.
The Easter Bonnet Competition is a two-day spectacular featuring song, dance, and stunning elaborate original bonnet creations. It’s the culmination of six weeks of fundraising by Broadway, Off-Broadway, and tour company members where bucket collections, autographed posters and programs, auctions, even cabaret performances bring in donations from amazingly supportive audiences. Editions have raised a total of more than $46-million for 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.