Hosts, special guests, judges, and performing shows have been announced for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ 31st annual Easter Bonnet Competition. The annual event will be held April 24 at 4:30 PM and April 25 at 2 PM at the Minskoff Theatre (200 W. 45th St.), currently home to Disney's Tony-winning The Lion King.
Performers from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national touring companies will share original skits, songs, and dances, plus their bonnet designs. Awards will be presented to the best presentation and best bonnet design as well as the top fundraisers from the preceding six weeks.
Shows scheduled to perform original numbers include Avenue Q, A Bronx Tale, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Sunset Boulevard, and Wicked.
A parade of bonnets will honor The Price, Sunday in the Park with George, and Waitress. The cast of The Play That Goes Wrong will make a special appearance, and there will be numbers honoring national touring productions and Broadway Cares’ fundraising volunteers, known as the Bucket Brigade. The Lion King’s L. Steven Taylor will perform Easter Bonnet Competition’s anthem, David Friedman's “Help Is on the Way.”
This year's fundraiser is directed by Bess Marie Glorioso with music supervision by Ben Cohn and music direction by Ted Arthur. Arabella Powell serves as production stage manager. Attendees can expect guest appearances from hosts Denée Benton and Lucas Steele (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Barrett Doss and Andy Karl (Groundhog Day), Bongi Duma and Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), Gideon Glick and Sas Goldberg (Significant Other), and Rachel Bay Jones and Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen). Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will reprise their curmudgeonly characters of Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland from this fall’s Oh, Hello.
A panel of judges will award best presentation honors at Tuesday's performance: music director Kristen Blodgette (Sunset Boulevard), Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon), Kate Burton and Kristine Nielsen (Present Laughter), Ed Dixon (Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose), and costume designer Catherine Zuber (Oslo, War Paint). Also joining the panel are Lee Perlman and Peg Wendlandt, who won their judging spots by bidding on VIP packages at the 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.
At Tuesday’s performance, Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce, and Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!) will present the awards for best presentation and best bonnet design and to the top fundraisers from the preceding six weeks. Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone (War Paint) will introduce the competition’s judges.
A limited number of tickets, starting at at $30, are still available. They can be purchased at BroadwayCares.org.
Check out photos from last year's competition below:
Stevie Nicks, Lin-Manuel Miranda and More Perform at the 2016 Easter Bonnet
Last year, 58 Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national tours raised $5.5 million during the Easter Bonnet Competition fundraising. Since 1987, the 30 editions of the Easter Bonnet Competition have raised more than $68.8 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
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 $285 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.