By Kenneth Jones
25 Mar 2003
The popular event offers teddy bears at auction, but the bears are dressed as famous characters from the theatre, gussied up by top theatrical designers. The year's top bid for a bear was the recreation of The Lion King's villain, Scar, which was auctioned off for $10,000. The bear was signed by the original Scar, John Vickery, and was introduced by Derek Smith who currently plays the role on Broadway.
The event was hosted by Bryan Batt; with Lorna Kelly reprising her role as auctioneer. Forty specially made Broadway Bears — "dressed in original, handmade costumes representing the theatre's most legendary characters" — were auctioned to the highest bidder.
The evening also featured B.D. Wong, who introduced the bear modeled after the character he played in M. Butterfly, and Mary Bond Davis who helped introduce the Edna Turnblad bear from Hairspray.
Marian Seldes introduced the Rayleen bear from 45 Seconds From Broadway, but also modeled the exact costume she (and her ursine counterpart) wore in the show. Tony-winner Harriet Harris from Thoroughly Modern Millie promised the auction winner of the Mrs. Meers bear a Chinese take out dinner with herself and host Bryan Batt, her former Jeffrey co star.
To date, the six Broadway Bears auctions have raised a total of $883,307 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fund raising and grant making organization.
BC/EFA has distributed over $65 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses. For more information, please visit the BC/EFA website at www.BCEFA.org.