The Easter Bonnet Competition is a two-day spectacular that features the companies of Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions singing, dancing and donning elaborate and often-outrageous original bonnets.
Productions scheduled to perform and present bonnets include A Christmas Story: The Musical, Ann, Annie, Avenue Q, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Chicago, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Once, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Lion King and Wicked, with a special performance by MOMIX representing Dancers Responding to AIDS and a special bonnet presented by the Broadway Green Alliance.
Three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie stars in the original opening number, directed and choreographed by Al Blackstone, and Tony nominee Jessie Mueller closes the show with the annual performance of David Friedman's “Help is on the Way,” BC/EFA's Easter Bonnet anthem.
Celebrities scheduled to appear throughout the competition include Tony winner Victoria Clark, Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli, two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran, Shalita Grant, Ann Harada, Tony winner Harriet Harris, Andy Karl, Ron Kunene, Tshidi Manye, Christopher McDonald, Judy McLane, Mark Nelson, Billy Porter and three-time Emmy Award nominee Peter Scolari.
The show is also scheduled to feature a special encore appearance by “Officer Lockstock and Little Sally” (Don Richard and Jennifer Cody) and a national touring show presentation, choreographed by Courtney Young and featuring bonnets from the tours of Les Misérables and Mary Poppins. Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper and four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein will present the top fundraising and best presentation awards at the April 23 performance. Two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane and Tony winner Andrea Martin will introduce the competition's judges.
The Easter Bonnet judges include two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes; choreographer Josh Bergasse; Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox; Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis; Tony winner Cady Huffman; Paul Libin, executive vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters and president of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' Board of Directors; Emmy winner Holland Taylor; and Michael Urie as well as Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, who both won their spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.
The Easter Bonnet Competition, according to Broadway Cares, is the "culmination of six intensive weeks of fundraising efforts by company members of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions. Curtain speeches, bucket collections, autographed poster and program sales, auctions and cabaret performances bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars from audiences prior to the competition. The winner of the Easter Bonnet Competition will be the company that raises the largest amount of money for Broadway Cares. Awards are also presented to the Broadway play, national tour and Off-Broadway production raising the most money. The judges determine awards given to the company with the best bonnet design and presentation."
The 26 previous editions of the Easter Bonnet Competition have raised more than $46 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Last year's event raised $3,706,085.
Tickets start at $20. They are available online at broadwaycares.org or by calling (212) 840-0770, ext. 268.
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 $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.