The generosity of the American theatre community shined brightly as six weeks of spring fundraising raised another record-breaking grand total for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The 29th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition raised a remarkable $4,711,386, making this the third year in a row the event set a new fundraising record.
The grand total was announced Tuesday by four of this season’s brightest stars: Andy Karl, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren and Matthew Morrison.
The news was revealed after two days of Easter Bonnet Competition performances, which honored the fundraising efforts of 52 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions in song, dance, comedy and 18 ornate, handmade bonnets.
More than 200 of Broadway and Off-Broadway’s most talented performers performed in this year’s show, which was once again held at the Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney’s The Lion King. Check back soon for video and photos from the event.
Karl, Miranda, Mirren and Morrison were met with thunderous applause from the standing-room audience as they announced the top fundraisers and the winners of outstanding bonnet design and best presentation at this year’s show.
The company of Jersey Boys took top design honors for its shimmering crystal-and LED-covered bonnet, created by Ricky Yates.
Winning the best presentation award was the company of Avenue Q, which lamented The Lion King’s perennial status as the winner of the presentation award. In “Bonnet of Life,” the Avenue Q cast delivered a side-splitting parody of the long-running Disney hit’s signature number “Circle of Life,” which left the audience roaring.
Runner-up presentation honors went to Jersey Boys, featuring current and alumni cast members who showed what happened when the legendary show went global. The company delivered amusing international versions of the show’s hits as performed by a mariachi band, a German oompah band, a reggae quartet and full-scale Bollywood production.
Opting to skew younger in casting, Les Misérables set out to find a new Jean Valjean and landed with a star-in-the-making performance of “The Confrontation” by 13-year-old Joshua Colley, who stunned the audience in his vocal duel with current Javert understudy John Rapson.
On the Town’s adorably awkward Lucy Schmeeler, expertly played by Allison Guinn, reluctantly became the new Miss Turnstiles and enjoyed a special dream ballet that called out cast member Ricky Ubeda, the most recent winner of So You Think You Can Dance.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social 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.