The tenth annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will feature a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters and will be held at B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, located in Manhattan at 237 West 42nd Street. The evening is set to begin at 6 PM with a private reception and a VIP advance preview of the bears; the general admission reception and display is set for 7 PM, and the auction commences at 8 PM. Lorna Kelly will once again be the event's auctioneer.
Phone bids, pre-bids and internet bids will all be accepted for this year's fundraiser.
Since its inception in 1998, Broadway Bears has raised over one million dollars for BC/EFA. Among the 40 bears that will be auctioned in February will include bears dressed as characters from Jersey Boys, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, The Drowsy Chaperone, Grey Gardens, Wicked, The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd, The Boy From Oz, The Pajama Game and Mary Poppins.
Last year's auction raised a total of $114,638. The bear that brought in the most funds for BC/EFA was the Avenue Q Rod bear, which was signed by original Q star John Tartaglia and raised $8,250. Other top draws included The Color Purple's Sofia bear — signed by Purple star Felicia P. Fields and producer Oprah Winfrey — which brought in $5,500, and Spamalot's King Arthur bear — signed by Tim Curry — which took in $4,800.
Host Bryan Batt's additional theatre credits include Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast; Monty, the disco DJ, in Saturday Night Fever; the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical; Sir Percy in Frank Wildhorn's The Scarlet Pimpernel; as well as principal roles in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Starlight Express and Cats. The actor-singer-dancer also played Joe Gillis opposite Betty Buckley's Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and has appeared Off-Broadway in Forbidden Broadway and Jeffrey. Batt has also been busy raising funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. For more information about Broadway Bears 10 or to make reservations for the event, call BC/EFA, (212) 840-0770, ext. 245. Visit the BC/EFA website at www.broadwaycares.org.