Bundy, Groff and Ziemba Among Easter Bonnet Hosts; Esparza to Sing

A host of Broadway favorites — including Laura Bell Bundy, Jonathan Groff, Hugh Dancy, Lea Michele, Patrick Page and Karen Ziemba — will be among the hosts of the 21st Annual Easter Bonnet Competition April 23 (4:30 PM) and 24 (2 PM) at the Minskoff Theatre.

Spring Awakening's Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff will be among the hosts of the Easter Bonnet Competition.
Spring Awakening's Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff will be among the hosts of the Easter Bonnet Competition. (Photo by Aubrey Reuben)

The two-day spectacular will feature the companies of various Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions, who will offer skits, songs and/or dances as well as a bonnet created specially for the competition.

Hosts for the annual event will include Bundy, Groff, Dancy, Michele, Page and Ziemba as well as Ashley Brown, Todd Buonopane, Paige Davis, Jared Gertner, Edward Hibbert, Amy Irving, Ron Kunene, Gavin Lee, Tshidi Manye, Christine Pedi, Mo Rocca and Seth Rudetsky.

This year's judges include an equally starry lot: Stephanie J. Block ( The Pirate Queen), John Connolly (executive director of Actors' Equity Association), Joan Didion (author of The Year of Magical Thinking), Tom Jones (lyricist of 110 in the Shade and The Fantasticks), Baayork Lee ( A Chorus Line), Bebe Neuwirth ( Chicago) and Richard M. Sherman (composer of Mary Poppins).

Choreographer Christopher Gattelli ( Altar Boyz, High Fidelity) and [title of show] authors (and co-stars) Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen have created the opening number for the upcoming competition. And, Raul Esparza, back on Broadway this season in the acclaimed revival of Company, will perform David Friedman's "Help Is On the Way," which is the official anthem of The Easter Bonnet Competition. That song, originally recorded by the late Nancy LaMott, has been performed at the annual event by LaMott, Alix Korey, Andrea McArdle, Idina Menzel and Maureen McGovern, among others.

A benefit for BC/EFA, 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 a record-breaking $3,187,496.

Tickets, priced $20-$350, are available by visiting www.broadwaycares.org or by calling (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 Minskoff Theatre is located in Manhattan at 200 West 45th Street.