A benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the annual Easter Bonnet Competition — scheduled for April 26 and 27 at the Minskoff Theatre — ends a six-week period of intensive fundraising by the assorted Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as well as Broadway touring productions. 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 is awarded a prize at the annual event. A second prize will be awarded to the company with the best bonnet design and presentation.
Playbill.com has learned what a few of the Broadway shows are currently auctioning post-performance to help the worthy cause:
Red — the play about abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko at the Golden Theatre — is selling pieces of the canvas that is primed in one of the production's most exciting moments.
The cast of Million Dollar Quartet — the new musical at the Nederlander Theatre that depicts a fateful meeting between Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins — is selling photos with a cast member in costume. The long-running hit Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre is selling "green" grocery bags, which are made of recycled material and were donated by the Dodgers.
Others taking part in the fundraising include the casts of The Phantom of the Opera, who sell reusable shopping bags and luggage tags; Memphis, who sell signed broken records from the actual performance (stars Montego Glover and Chad Kimball sign and date the broken half and add the date the record was used as a prop in the show, so each broken record is a one-of-a-kind souvenir); Wicked, who sell backstage tours on the spot (a lead character comes out and gives a guided tour immediately following the show); Naked Boys Singing, who created an apron with a suggestive lyric from one of the show's songs on it; and Lend Me a Tenor, who, following the curtain-call speech, give a five-dollar bill to someone in the front row to start the collection going.
Among the productions scheduled to create a bonnet and offer a unique performance are Billy Elliot, Dancers Responding to AIDS, Fela!, In the Heights, La Cage Aux Folles, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, My Trip Down The Pink Carpet, Next Fall, The Phantom of the Opera, R.Evolución Latina, South Pacific, Wicked and Zero Hour.
The East Bonnet Competition will be held April 26 at 4:30 PM and April 27 at 2 PM. For tickets visit Broadwaycares or call (212) 840-0770, ext. 268. The Minskoff Theatre is located in Manhattan at 200 West 45th Street.