Stars of Broadway's Bright Star, Disaster!, The Color Purple, School of Rock—The Musical and Hamilton are among celebrity presenters at the 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition, produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which will announce winners April 26 at 2 PM at the Minskoff Theatre, home to the Tony-winning musical The Lion King.
Broadway favorites scheduled to host this year’s event include Alex Brightman (School of Rock), Kerry Butler (Disaster!), Carmen Cusack (Bright Star), Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), Adam Kantor (Fiddler on the Roof), Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof), Jennifer Simard (Disaster!) and L. Steven Taylor (The Lion King). The Crucible’s Tina Benko, Jason Butler Harner, Ciarán Hines, Saoirse Ronan, Ray Anthony Thomas and Ben Whishaw also will join as hosts. Special guests Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi from She Loves Me will introduce the judges on Tuesday.
Christian Borle (Something Rotten!), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Fully Committed and TV’s Modern Family) and Jennifer Hudson (The Color Purple) will announce the top fundraisers and the best presentation and best bonnet awards at the conclusion of the April 26 performance. Rachel York (Disaster!) will close each show with “Help is on the Way,” BC/EFA's traditional Easter Bonnet anthem written by David Friedman.
Seventeen bonnets are being unveiled after performances that include the casts of An American in Paris, Avenue Q, Chicago, Disaster!, Fun Home, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, School of Rock, Straight and Wicked.
This year’s Easter Bonnet Competition also includes a performance by the Broadway Inspirational Voices, led by Michael McElroy, and an original opening number directed by T. Oliver Reid, choreographed by Rommy Sandhu and written by Jed Resnick. The show also will feature a tribute to national touring productions, choreographed by Kellen Stancil, as well as a number honoring Broadway Cares’ indefatigable Bucket Brigade volunteers, directed by Jonathan Cerullo. In addition, three of BC/EFA's affiliate organizations—Broadway Green Alliance, Broadway Serves and R.Evolución Latina—will grace the stage with a special number directed by Luis Salgado.
The Easter Bonnet Competition is a two-day event that celebrates six weeks of intensive fundraising efforts by Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions.
Performers from participating shows sing, dance and wear elaborate Easter bonnets made especially for the Competition. The winner of the Easter Bonnet Competition is the company that raises the most for BC/EFA in weeks of curtain-call fundraising, which began March 11. Awards also are given for best bonnet design and best presentation.
This season’s fundraising began March 11 at select shows and continued through April 24. Casts, crews and other volunteers at Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions across the country greeted audience members at theatre exits, holding Broadway Cares red buckets and accepting donations. Many shows offered autographed memorabilia and exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences in exchange for a donation.
Last year's Easter Bonnet Competition raised $4,711,386. Since 1987 the 29 editions of this annual event have brought in more than $63.3 million.
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.