Those scheduled to host the annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS include 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 will include Barbara Cook, Dixie Carter, Jefferson Mays, Martin Moran and Douglas Sills.
Wicked star Idina Menzel will also be on hand to perform David Friedman's anthem "Help Is On the Way." The two-day spectacular will feature the companies of various Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions, and the shows will offer skits, songs and/or dances as well as a bonnet created specially for the competition.
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 $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.