The 32nd annual Easter Bonnet Competition, produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, is presented April 23 at 4:30 PM and April 24 at 2 PM at the Minskoff Theatre.
Kristin Newhouse directs the annual event, which features more than 200 Broadway and Off-Broadway singers and dancers. The opening number is written and directed by Billy Hipkins and co-directed and choreographed by James Kinney.
The Easter Bonnet Competition features appearances by John Cariani and Ari’el Stachel (The Band’s Visit), Lilli Cooper, Gavin Lee, and Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants), Bongi Duma and Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), Adam Heller, Evan Pappas, and Cheryl Stern (A Letter to Harvey Milk), Erika Henningsen and Taylor Louderman (Mean Girls), Caissie Levy and Patti Murin (Frozen), Lea Salonga (Once on This Island), and Taylor Trensch (Dear Evan Hansen).
Shows scheduled to present songs, skits, or dances and handcrafted bonnets include Avenue Q, The Band’s Visit, A Bronx Tale The Musical, Chicago, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Escape to Margaritaville, Hamilton, Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly, Kinky Boots, A Letter to Harvey Milk, The Lion King, School of Rock - The Musical, SpongeBob SquarePants, Waitress, and Wicked. Caleb Teicher & Company is also is set to perform, representing Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The fundraising effort of national tours across the country will be represented in a number directed and choreographed by Richard J. Hinds. Broadway Cares’ affiliate organizations Broadway Green Alliance, Broadway Serves, and R.Evolución Latina will be honored in a number directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado.
The winners of top fundraiser, best presentation, and best bonnet design, as well as the fundraising total, will be announced April 24 by Victor Garber and Bernadette Peters (Hello, Dolly!) and Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane (Angels in America).
Hailey Kilgore (Once on This Island) will perform David Friedman’s “Help Is on the Way,” the longtime Easter Bonnet Competition closing anthem.
The two presentations celebrate the culmination of six weeks of fundraising by Broadway, Off-Broadway, and nationally touring productions. The donations become grants that provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling, and emergency financial assistance in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.
Arabella Powell serves as production stage manager, with Ben Cohn as music supervisor, Ted Arthur as music director, and Charles Gordon as orchestra coordinator. Sound design is by Alain Van Achte with lighting design is by Timothy Reed.
A panel of judges will determine best presentation honors at the April 24 performance. This year's judges are Zach Adkins and Christy Altomare from Anastasia, Major Attaway from Aladdin, Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan from Escape to Margaritaville, Ashley Park and Kate Rockwell from Mean Girls, and Charlie Stemp from Hello, Dolly!. Also joining the panel are Nicole LaFountaine and Gracie Miller, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 31st Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.
A limited number of tickets, starting at $30, are available. They can be purchased at BroadwayCares.org.
Since 1987, the 31 editions of the Easter Bonnet Competition have raised more than $75.2 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.