Final Broadway Bears Fundraiser Brings in Record-Breaking $198,300
By Andrew Gans
The final edition of the Broadway Bears fundraisers to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which was presented March 18 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, raised a record-setting $198,300.
The cumulative fundraising total for the 15 editions of Broadway Bears is $2,048,427. The previous fund-raising record was $170,000 and was set in 2002.
"What started as a one-time event with 20 bears in 1998 turned into a remarkable run of auctioning 643 bears raising more than $2 million," said Broadway Cares executive director Tom Viola in a statement. "Led by BC/EFA producer Scott T. Stevens, an extraordinarily talented team of Broadway designers, costume shops, and wardrobe personnel designed, costumed, draped, dressed and frocked, painted, outfitted, stuffed and lipoed, shod and hatted, feathered, tattooed and armored, bedecked and bedazzled these furry masterpieces, giving of their time, energies and amazing talent over 15 years to create this unique and delightful fundraising event. The Broadway Bears truly reflects the creative vision, sheer artistry and technical skill that are the hallmark of all of Broadway.”
The top bid for the 2012 auction was $20,000 for a re-creation of Joey from the Tony Award-winning War Horse.
Other top bids included $18,000 for Simba from The Lion King; $11,000 for J. Pierrepont Finch from How to Succeed; $10,900 for a trio of bears from Priscilla Queen of the Desert; and $8,000 for a Showgirl from the recent revival of Follies.
The yearly event features a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters, many autographed by the original stars who wore the original (human-sized) outfits.
Broadway favorite Bryan Batt and auctioneer Lorna Kelly were once again on hand to host and lead the evening's festivities.
This year’s Collection of bears included "red carpet" bears from such shows as:
A Chorus Line, signed by Priscilla Lopez
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grants making organization. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes and other critical illnesses across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $195 million dollars for critically needed services for people with AIDS and other serious illnesses.
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