Broadway’s spring fundraising race benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS culminated in the 32nd annual Easter Bonnet Competition, held April 23 and 24 at the Minskoff Theatre. Between Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring productions, the theatre community raised a total of $5,721,879 through curtain call appeals over the course of six weeks (the second-highest total to date).
The grand total was revealed following the Easter Bonnet presentations, in which various shows perform sketches and numbers (often parodying themselves and their fellow shows) and present their custom-designed, often-extravagant bonnet.
This year’s Best Bonnet Design award went to SpongeBob Square Pants, while Wicked won the award for Best Bonnet Presentation. Wicked dedicated their performance to cast member Jerad Bortz and his husband Steven Skeels, who suffered a car crash that left Bortz paralyzed from the chest down. (Bortz joined his co-stars on stage to don the company's bonnet during their presentation.) Escape to Margaritaville and The Band’s Visit's presentations were named runners-up.
Throughout all productions that competed, the Broadway engagement of Hamilton led the fundraising pack, gathering $402,083 for BC/EFA. The “Angelica” tour of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical was the top touring production, raising $330,876.
Here’s who came out on top during the spring fundraising period, as announced on the Minskoff stage by Hello, Dolly!’s Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber and Angels in America stars Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane.
The Play That Goes Wrong ($84,504), Angels in America ($76,226)
Hamilton “Angelica” tour ($330,876), The Book of Mormon “Jumamosi” tour ($264,901), Aladdin ($200,000), Wicked “Munchkinland” tour ($196,107)
The 2018 event, directed by Kristin Newhouse, featured more than 200 Broadway and Off-Broadway singers and dancers, including Taylor Trensch (Dear Evan Hansen), Lea Salonga (Once on this Island), Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants), Taylor Louderman (Mean Girls), and Frozen’s Caissie Levy and Patti Murin.
The bonnet and presentation honors were determined this year by judges Zach Adkins and Christy Altomare from Anastasia, Major Attaway from Aladdin, Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan from Escape to Margaritaville, Ashley Park and Kate Rockwell from Mean Girls, and Charlie Stemp from Hello, Dolly!. Also joining the panel were Nicole LaFountaine and Gracie Miller, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 31st Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.
BC/EFA has become one of the nation’s leading industry-based AIDS fundraising organizations, drawing upon the theatre industry and community to raise over $300 million since 1988. Funds go to men, women, and children around the country for treatments and medication, health care, counseling, emergency financial assistance, and more.
Watch Peters, Garber, Garfield, and Lane announce the top shows—as well as the grand total—in the video below.