As previously announced, the annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will be presented Feb. 17 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on West 42nd Street. The evening will begin at 6 PM with a private reception and an advance VIP preview of this year's collection of bears. At 7 PM the doors will open for general admission ticket holders, and the auction is scheduled to commence at 8 PM.
Batt, who was last on Broadway in the revival of La Cage aux Folles, will host the event, which will feature Sotheby's auctioneer, Lorna Kelly.
The yearly event features a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters, many autographed by the original stars who wore the original (human-sized) outfits. This year's bears will be dressed as characters from Curtains, The Drowsy Chaperone, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Spring Awakening, Xanadu, Young Frankenstein, Cats, Gypsy, The Music Man, Nine, Peter Pan, Sunday in the Park with George, Titanic and West Side Story.
Those unable to attend the New York auction can bid online. BC/EFA accepts pre-bids and prearranged phone bids the night of the auction. Previews of this year's bears are available on the Broadway Cares website.
Last year's auction, also hosted by Batt, brought in $130,000 for the charitable organization. Top bids were for the Mary Poppins ($8,000) and The Phantom of the Opera ($6,500) bears. Since its inception in 1998, Broadway Bears has raised over $1.35 million dollars for BC/EFA.
New Orleans resident Bryan Batt — most recently on Broadway in the revival of La Cage aux Folles — has also been seen on The Great White Way as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast; Monty, the disco DJ, in Saturday Night Fever; the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical; and Sir Percy in Frank Wildhorn's The Scarlet Pimpernel. He also had 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.
For more information about Broadway Bears XI or Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, visit the BC/EFA website at www.broadwaycares.org or call (212) 840-0770, ext. 268.