Broadway Bears V, the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS auction of one-of a-kind Broadway Bears, raised $168,812 at this year's event according to BC/EFA representative Scott T. Stevens. The Feb. 10 festivities took place at B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill, a new venue for the fund-raiser.
Among the 42 bears sold, the top two items up for bid were the Broadway Fire Department Bear and the late addition of a Producers bear. Both lots topped the previous record held by A Chorus Line bear, which netted $11,000.
The Fireman bear, honoring The Battalion 9, 4 Ladder, Engine 54 and also all of the firemen who answered the call of duty on Sept. 11, was made from a retired uniform donated by the firehouse. A worn patch on the base — signed by the chief and firefighters from Battalion 9, former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani — reads "Never Missed a Performance". The best in show bear went for a whopping $30,000 to Connie Nicoud.
Nicoud also outbid others for The Producers bear — dressed as Max Bialystock in a suit, topped by a red fedora and carnation — with a $16,000 final price. The very generous winner also took home two more bears to boot.
To view this year's bears, visit the BC/EFA website at www.bcefa.org. *
Florence Klotz, Theoni V. Aldredge, Santo Loquasto, Martin Pakledinaz, Willa Kim, Anne Hould-Ward and Julie Taymor are among the designers of this year's cub club, with subjects to include Reba McEntire (Annie Get Your Gun), and Tom Selleck (A Thousand Clowns). To quote BC/EFA's website: "each bear, as always, will be meticulously designed, outfitted, costumed, draped, frocked, dressed, shod, hatted, painted, armored, tattooed, stuffed, made up, wigged, bejeweled, feathered and lipo-ed by top Broadway designers and design teams."
The stuffed toys themselves were created — and donated — by the North American Bear Co., Inc. Other on-sale bears representing shows of years past include a Sweeney Todd bear (signed by Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim and Len Cariou), a Music Man bear of Marion (signed by Rebecca Luker), a Love! Valour! Compassion! ballerina bear, and a Sound of Music bridal nun bear. The bears are auctioned after being previewed on-line at www.BroadwayCares.org.
Last year's Bear bash, held Feb. 11, 2001, was hosted by health advocate Richard Simmons. To date, the Bear auctions have raised more than $590,000 for BC/EFA, the ongoing theatre effort aimed at meeting the challenges of AIDS.
This year's Bear event will begin at 6 PM VIP reception, followed by a 7 PM general admission display, followed by the auction at 8.
Other BC/EFA fundraising events include the Gypsy of the Year competition (which this season raised just over $2 million), the fall Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction ($358K), the strip-teasey Broadway Bares (due June 16 at Roseland), the "Nothing Like a Dame" Concert (due March 18 at the St. James Theatre) and the Easter Bonnet Competition (due April 22 23).
— by Ernio Hernandez
and David Lefkowitz