The two-day spectacular — Monday at 4:30 PM and Tuesday at 3 PM — will feature the companies of various Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions, who will offer skits, songs and/or dances as well as bonnets created specially for the competition. Wicked co-star Idina Menzel will also be on hand to perform David Friedman's survival anthem "Help Is On the Way."
A slew of Broadway's best will host this year's fundraiser, including Gypsy's Bernadette Peters, Wicked's Joel Grey and Carole Shelley, Hairspray's Harvey Fierstein, Golda's Balcony's Tovah Feldshuh, Fiddler on the Roof's Randy Graff, Wonderful Town's Gregg Edelman, The Boy From Oz's Michael Mulheren, Avenue Q's John Tartaglia, Chicago's Christopher Sieber and The Lion King's Ron Kunene and Tsidii Manye. Celebrity judges include Barbara Cook, Dixie Carter, Jefferson Mays, Martin Moran and Douglas Sills.
The annual fundraiser ends a six-week period of intensive fundraising by the assorted Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Curtain speeches, autographed posters and program sales, auctions and cabaret performances are all part of the fundraising effort, which bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the worthy organization. The company that raises the most funds for BC/EFA is awarded a prize at the Easter Bonnet Competition. A second prize is awarded to the show with the best bonnet design and presentation. Additional awards are presented to the Broadway play, national tour and Off Broadway production raising the most money.
Last year's competition raised $2,149,744 for BC/EFA. La Boheme won the bonnet competition, with 42nd Street first runner-up and Mamma Mia! the second runner-up. Fundraising winners included the casts of Hairspray ($191,000), Thoroughly Modern Millie ($122,200), Mamma Mia! ($117,800) and Les Misérables ($87,700).
Tickets for this year's event are available via the Broadway Cares website (www.broadwaycares.org) or through the Broadway Cares office, (212) 840 0770, ext. 268. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fund-raising and grant-making organization. The New Amsterdam Theatre is located at 214 West 42nd Street.