007 and Wolverine Give Shirts Off Their Backs, Raise More Than $1 Million for BC/EFA

PlayBlog   007 and Wolverine Give Shirts Off Their Backs, Raise More Than $1 Million for BC/EFA
A steady rain of heavy coins has been following A Steady Rain at the Schoenfeld for a month now, and on Nov. 19 Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman made history in their fund-raising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS when their show became the first to reach $1 million all by itself — $1,029,833, to be precise.

Jackson came closest to that figure when he raised $612,000 during his Boy From Oz run. "There have been several shows that have come close to that — Rent, Hairspray, The Producers," said a jubilant Tom Viola, BC/EFA's executive director. "Basically, when a show — it's usually a musical — raises $250,000, that's a tremendous success. The fact that Hugh and Daniel, in the fourth of six weeks of fund-raising, have raised a million dollars is incredible and really speaks to their extraordinary generosity and great good will."

Among the items being hustled are posters for $300 and Playbills for $60 — both signed — that you can only get at the theatre. "They're gracious enough to say, 'Since we're selling these here, we will not be signing autographs at the stage door,' because they don't want somebody to buy a Playbill for $60 and then have somebody else put a Playbill in front of them for nothing." Also, Craig and Jackson will pose with members of the audience for photos backstage for $2,000 a piece.

But the piece de resistance is a variation on the sweat towels that Jackman peddle during The Boy From Oz: He and Craig literally sell the sleeveless t-shirts right off their backs that they wear under their shirts during the performance — "wife-beaters," they're called, after Stanley Kowalski. "They start the bidding at $1,000, saying each will sign their own t-shirt, and the winner will get both. What they have done literally at every performance is sell the t-shirt twice so if the final bid is, say, $4,500, they will ask the underbidder if he will match that, they will both sign each T-shirt. And then Broadway Cares gets twice the donation. They've gone for anywhere from $3,500 to, literally one night, $15,000 twice!"

Stars have been sweating for your money since Dec. 16, 1939. The day after "Gone With the Wind" world-premiere in Atlanta, a woman plopped down a pretty penny at the front desk of the Georgian Terrace Hotel for the room just vacated by Clark Gable. Her only stipulation was that the sheets not be changed.

— Harry Haun

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