Easter Bonnet Hosts to Include Allen, Creel, Luker, Munoz, Swenson and More
By Andrew Gans
As previously announced, the 23rd Annual Easter Bonnet Competition — benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS — will be presented at the Minskoff Theatre, currently the home of Disney's The Lion King.
The two-day spectacular will be held April 27 at 4:30 PM and April 28 at 2 PM.
Stars scheduled to host the annual event include Joan Allen (Impressionism), Danny Burstein (South Pacific), Andre De Shields (Impressionism), Tovah Feldshuh (Irena’s Vow), Gavin Creel (Hair), Johanna Day (August: Osage County), Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins), Karen Olivo (West Side Story), Javier Munoz (In The Heights), Thomas Sadoski (reasons to be pretty), Will Swenson (Hair) and John Tartaglia (Shrek The Musical).
Judges for the April 28 performance will include Laura Benanti (Why Torture Is Wrong and The People Who Love Them), Brian d'Arcy James (Shrek), Marsha Mason (Impressionism), Steven Pasquale (reasons to be pretty), Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) and the cast of God of Carnage: Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, and James Gandolfini. Judges will be introduced by Exit the King's Andrea Martin and Geoffrey Rush.
The competition 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 event. Productions scheduled to present bonnets include 33 Variations, Avenue Q, Billy Elliot, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Hair, Impressionism, Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Mary Poppins, Naked Boys Singing, The Phantom of the Opera, Shrek, West Side Story and Wicked.
The show will also boast a special appearance by BC/EFA longtime friend Doris Eaton Travis, the 105-year-old original Ziegfeld Follies Girl, and Don Richard and Jen Cody, who will reprise their portrayals of Urinetown's Officer Lockstock and Little Sally. Andrea Burns (In the Heights) will sing David Friedman's "Help Is On The Way," the official anthem of BC/EFA.
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 $3.7 million for the charitable organization.
For ticket information visit www.broadwaycares.org or call (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.
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