The first annual Broadway Bears auction raised $124,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Feb. 15 at the Hudson Theatre in NY, which was overflowing with theatre folk and theatre lovers.
Forty one-of-a-kind bears (donated by The North American Bear Company, Inc.), decked out in original handmade costumes representing legendary theatre performers, were put on the auction block.
The highest bid of the evening was $11,000, made over transcontinental phone lines by the cast of the London company of A Chorus Line, for a bear signed by Donna McKechnie and Robert LuPone, which topped Rosie O'Donnell's bid of $10,000 for the Funny Girl bear signed by Barbra Streisand.
Original Falsettos Broadway cast members Stephen Bogardus and Heather MacRae were present at the auction to present the "Bearmitzvah" bear, which went for $5,500, and the Ziegfeld Follies bear, presented by Dana O'Connell (an original Ziegfeld girl who played the New Amsterdam Theatre during its heyday in the 1920s), went for $5,250.
The Sunset Boulevard bear, signed by Glenn Close and dressed in a stunning miniature reproduction of Norma Desmond's leopard-skin evening gown, sold for $4,800. The Evita bear, signed by Patti LuPone and wearing the famous white ballgown (made from remnants of the fabric from LuPone's original costume), sold for $4,600. --By Rebecca Paller