A Lion King bear depicting the character of Rafiki and signed by portrayer Tsidii Le Loka netted a high bid of $5,250 and helped the second annual Broadway Bears auction soar past last year's total by $30,000. Held on Valentine's Day, the auction of 41 teddy bears -- all designed to look like famous performers in their theatre roles -- brought in $154,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Other stuffed grizzlies bringing in high bids included a Fiddler on the Roof bear signed by the late Jerome Robbins and Maria Karnilova, which went for $4,800. Bears representing Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria, Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd, and Bernadette Peters in Sunday in the Park With George, all signed by the actresses, went for $4,000.
The ursine menagerie also included bears depicting Katharine Hepburn in Coco, Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes and Bette Midler in Divine Madness Designers, as well as costume and wardrobe personnel, replicated the work of Tony-winning designers such as Julie Taymor, Theoni V. Aldredge, Ann Hould-Ward, Florence Klotz, and Santo Loquasto, to create the bears. All were manufactured by North American Bear Company, Inc.