The annual auction at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill features a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters. Bryan Batt is scheduled to host with Lorna Kelly as the event's auctioneer.
Phone bids, pre-bids and internet bids are all being accepted for this year's fundraiser.
A total of 40 bears will be auctioned this year, representing such shows as 700 Sundays, Aida, Amadeus, Avenue Q, The Boy From Oz, The Boyfriend, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Carnival, Carrie, Cats, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dance of the Vampires, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Doubt, Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Julius Caesar, La Cage aux Folles, The Light in the Piazza, Little Shop of Horrors, Movin' Out, My Fair Lady, The Odd Couple, The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Rent, The Rocky Horror Show, Shirley MacLaine on Broadway, Spamalot and Sweet Charity. Bears were autographed by such stars as Victoria Clark, Billy Crystal, Tim Curry, Harvey Fierstein, Billy Joel, Cherry Jones, John G. Kerr, Nathan Lane, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Parkinson, Bernadette Peters, John Tartaglia and Denzel Washington.
Last year's auction raised $116,817 for BC/EFA, the nation's leading industry based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. The bear decked out as Wicked's Glinda raised the most funds, $6,000. 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 IX or to make reservations for the event, call BC/EFA, (212) 840-0770, ext. 245. Visit the BC/EFA website at www.broadwaycares.org.
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is located in Manhattan at 237 West 42nd Street.