The 31st Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition presented its annual basket full of skits, songs, and dances, with cast members from various shows frequently spoofing themselves and other shows before unveiling their elaborate "Easter Bonnet" presentation (literally, a trouper wearing an outsized novelty bonnet).
Modern dance pieces and comedy skits laced with insider jokes once again dominated at Easter Bonnet 31, with a special emphasis on sendups of President Donald J. Trump and his administration.
1. “Opening Number”
The event opened with a parody of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, with new lyrics by Vanessa Brown expressing how Broadway needs to “make ’em laugh, give ’em hope” in the current political climate. Lead characters from popular musicals Annie (Marissa Rosen), Wicked (Hannah Shankman), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Jason Kravits) worked their respective spunk, magic, and shtick to amuse the crowd. The number ended with the dancers rolling out a banner urging them to “#Resist” the current administration’s policies.
2. Avenue Q
“Bigly Little Lies”
The company brought a Donald Trump puppet and a bare-chested Vladimir Putin on a blow-up horse onstage to be called out on their statements and scandals, ending in a special version of the show’s song “For Now,” reminding everyone that the current politicians are “only for now.”
“The Battle of 52nd Street: Cats vs. Hogs”
Cats used “Jet Song” from West Side Story to set up a made-up rivalry with their across-the-street neighbors at Groundhog Day, ending with Grizabella handing her rival a can of Pepsi, a reference to the recent imbroglio over the soft drink’s TV commercial which seemed to make light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bette Midler, Josh Groban, Patti LuPone, and More at the 31st Annual Easter Bonnet Competition
4. Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
“The Night They Came: A Post-Liberal Dream Ballet on American and Russian Musical Theatre Themes”
Stars Josh Groban and Denée Benton led the cast in performing a psychedelic kaleidoscope of snatches from Assassins, Big River, 1776, Hair, Fiddler on the Roof and other shows.
5. Dear Evan Hansen
“You Will Be Found (Hard-Boiled Remix)”
A cast member dressed as an egg who gets left behind after the White House Egg Hunt told her story using a parody of the show’s anthem “You Will Be Found,” incorporating bits from current shows Groundhog Day, Bronx Tale, War Paint, The Lion King, and Sunday in the Park With George. Watch below!
“Seasons of Jazz”
The cast supplied new lyrics to Rent’s “Seasons of Love,” recalling company highlights from the show’s “10,512,000 minutes” at the Ambassador Theatre.
7. Oh, Hello on Broadway
Replacing longtime Easter Bonnet favorites Little Sally and Officer Lockstock from Urinetown were the more recent Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, who reprised their curmudgeonly characters Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland from Oh, Hello on Broadway for a biting comic dialogue touching on American politics and Broadway insider jokes. They remarked on how the political atmosphere has changed since their show was on Broadway last fall, in the waning days of the Obama administration, which they described as the “Cabaret-esque pre-Nazi era.” They hailed the return of the Tony Awards category for sound design, but claimed it was because the designers “blackmailed everyone with [incriminating] bathroom tapes” when their mics were unknowingly hot. They ended by praising Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as George in Sunday in the Park With George, but said he is “more intense than Mandy Patinkin. And that’s the first time that sentence has ever been spoken.”