As previously announced, the eighth annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will feature a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters and will be held Feb. 20 at B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, located in Manhattan at 237 West 42nd Street. The evening begins at 6 PM with cocktails and previews of the many glamorous bears; the auction commences at 8 PM. La Cage aux Folles' Bryan Batt will host the evening, and Lorna Kelly will be the event's auctioneer. The 40 bears up for auction this year include those representing such shows as Avenue Q, Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Year With Frog & Toad, Rent, Wicked, Cats, Bombay Dreams, I Am My Own Wife, The Frogs, A Raisin in The Sun, Movin' Out, Wonderful Town, Master Class, Tea and Sympathy, Sweeney Todd, Jelly's Last Jam, Beauty and the Beast, Anything Goes, Anna in the Tropics, Brooklyn, High Button Shoes and The Boy From Oz. Among the stars who have autographed this year's array of bears are Hugh Jackman, Eileen Atkins, Dame Edna, Tonya Pinkins, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Vanessa Redgrave, Angela Lansbury, Glenn Close, Bernadette Peters, Sutton Foster, Stephen Sondheim, Melba Moore, Tovah Feldshuh, Beth Fowler, Nathan Lane, Tammy Grimes, Jefferson Mays, Phylicia Rashad, Idina Menzel, Donna Murphy, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Alan Rickman, Sean Combs, John Barrowman, Barbara Cook, John Cameron Mitchell, Moisés Kaufman, Donna Murphy, Doris Eaton Travis, Anthony Rapp and Zoe Caldwell.
Last year's Broadway Bears auction raised $127,210 for BC/EFA, the nation's leading industry based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization. A bear dressed as Happy End's Lieutenant Lillian Holiday brought in the most funds for BC/EFA, $22,000. (A Producers bear had held the record, bringing in $16,000 in 2002.)
For more information about Broadway Bears VIII or to make reservations for the event, call BC/EFA, (212) 840-0770, ext. 268. Visit the BC/EFA website at www.broadwaycares.org to view all of the bears up for auction.