Brings BC/EFA Fundraising Season to Eclipsing Close
By: Ellis Nassour
There were scene-stealers galore at Monday and Tuesday’s 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition, one of the two Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS seasonal fundraisers that bring together the theatrical community and star, stars, stars. The grand total announced Tuesday at the Minskoff by Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein, and Tom Hanks, after six weeks of intensive fundraising via bucket donations and auctions of all kind by Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national tours, was a staggering $4,250,542 – eclipsing the high of over $3.7-million set in 2007. Since the Competition began in 1987, in excess of $53-million has been raised for local and national outreach programs of BC/EFA and The Actors Fund.
The competition featured colorfully-costumed [and some barely-costumed] cast members in original dance numbers that culminated with the introduction of their handcrafted bonnets. Directing was Kristin Newhouse. Ben Cohn was music director. Sponsors were The New York Times and United Airlines.
Performers for the SRO audiences at the home of Disney’s The Lion King included Reeve Carney (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Victoria Clark (Cinderella), Robert Cuccioli (Spider-Man…), Katie Finneran (Annie), Shalita Grant (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Ann Harada (Cinderella), Harriet Harris (Cinderella), Andy Karl (Jersey Boys), Ron Kunene (The Lion King), Nathan Lane (The Nance), Tshidi Manye (Lion King), Andrea Martin (Pippin), Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal), Christopher McDonald (Lucky Guy), Judy McLane (Mamma Mia!), Jessie Mueller (Nice Work If You Can Get It), Mark Nelson (My Name is Asher Lev), Christine Pedi (Chicago), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), and Peter Scolari (Lucky Guy). Guests were Officer Lockstock and the shockingly sharp-tongued Little Sally (Don Richard, Jennifer Cody) and MOMIX principal dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche.
A star panel of judges chose Kinky Boots for Best Presentation, and combined companies of Annie and Newsies as runner up. The Lion King and Spider-Man…shared honors for Best Bonnet Design. Broadway’s top Fundraising Awards went to Lucky Guy, $301,549 [with Hanks noting that in the spirit of Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman, he auctioned the shirt off his back – which only netted a fraction of what theirs went for]; Wicked, $244,431; Book of Mormon, $232,260; and Phantom of the Opera,- $172,435. For a complete list and more information, visit www.broadwaycares.org.