Broadway Cares' 19th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition Sings and Dances April 18 and 19

News   Broadway Cares' 19th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition Sings and Dances April 18 and 19 The 19th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition — benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS — will be held April 18 and 19 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, home of the Tony-winning Disney musical The Lion King.
The infamous
The infamous "Avenue Jew" sketch from last year's Easter Bonnet Competition Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The two-day spectacular — Monday at 4:30 PM and Tuesday at 2 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 annual competition. Little Women co-star Maureen McGovern 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 Spamalot's David Hyde Pierce and Christopher Sieber, Steel Magnolias' Delta Burke, Doubt's Cherry Jones and Brian F. O'Byrne and Avenue Q's Rick Lyon and Barrett Foa. Two other Broadway favorites, Harvey Fierstein and Jessica Lange, will announce the award winners. And, La Cage aux Folles' Michael Benjamin Washington — in his "Mahogany" guise — will join "Bonnet" regular Doris Eaton Travis for the opening number.

A benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Easter Bonnet Competition 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 brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company that raises the most funds for BC/EFA will be awarded a prize at the Easter Bonnet Competition. A second prize will be awarded to the company with the best bonnet design and presentation. Additional awards will be presented to the Broadway play, national tour and Off-Broadway production raising the most money.

Last year's competition raised $3,420,537 for BC/EFA. The Boy From Oz — starring Hugh Jackman — raised the most for BC/EFA, bringing in $539,058. The other top fundraisers included The Producers ($368,050), Hairspray ($217,813), Wicked ($158,497) and Gypsy ($149,595). Additional fundraising prizes were given to the Broadway play that raised the most money (Golda’s Balcony, $78,654), the Off-Broadway production that raised the most money (Fame, $21,882), and the national tour that brought in the most funds (Mamma Mia! tour #2, $151,830).

Best bonnet presentation was awarded to Avenue Q and Fiddler on the Roof, who joined forces to present a skit entitled “Avenue Jew.” The Producers was awarded second prize in this category for its skit about gay marriage, which included a parody of Stephen Sondheim’s “Getting Married Today.” Thoroughly Modern Millie won third prize in the bonnet presentation category for a moving performance entitled “Letters from Home.” Tickets are priced $20 (balcony), $40 (mezzanine), $90 (rear orchestra and front mezzanine), $200 (middle and side orchestra) and $350 (front and center orchestra) and are now available by calling (212) 840-0770, ext. 268 or by visiting www.broadwaycares.org. Tickets are also on sale at the BC/EFA offices, 165 West 46th Street, suite 1300.

The New Amsterdam Theatre is located at 214 West 42nd Street.

A scene from last year's Easter Bonnet Competition
A scene from last year's Easter Bonnet Competition Photo by Aubrey Reuben