Inside The Bonnet

Inside Track   Inside The Bonnet
Our buddies over at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS have done it again! This year’s Easter Bonnet fundraising period brought in $3,265,700 thanks to the extraordinary efforts of more than 300 shows on Broadway, Off-Broadway and on the road. They sure have come a long way from the $1,200 raised during the first Easter Bonnet competition held in the basement of the Palace Theatre.

The Who’s Who of Broadway came out from all four corners of the Times Square pedestrian mall for the 24th Annual BC/EFA Easter Bonnet competition, presented April 26-27 at the Minskoff Theatre.

At 106, former Ziegfeld showgirl Doris Eaton Travis proved for the twelfth time, that she is the Queen of the Bonnet, kicking off the proceedings by driving onto the stage at the Minskoff in her very own, custom Bonnet-mobile.

As is usual, along with the amazing performances by some of the most talented (and flexible!) people on Broadway, came some good-natured ribbing. Jan Maxwell and Dylan Baker kicked off a round-robin of co-hosting duos, but not before acknowledging that some people couldn’t be there because they got stuck in London due to the Volcano Ash situation. “Only those in the most dire of circumstances were able to make it out of London,” Maxwell said before we heard: “Will Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein please report to Gate 5 immediately.”

Michael Urie used his time as co-host to shill for a guest spot on “Glee." “Is Ryan Murphy here? My show just got cancelled…and I can play 16,” Urie begged.

The cast of Next Fall, billed as “the luckiest cast on Broadway,” sang an ode to their celebrity producer, Elton John, with their own X-rated version of the tune “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” changing the lyrics to “They won’t let their son go down on me.”

Speaking of...Co-host Chad Kimball and Constantine Maroulis brought up the much talked-about rumor of an incident at a recent American Idiot performance of some people having a bit too much “fun" in the mezzanine. “I hear Tiger Woods is supposed to catch a performance of that show. I wonder if he’ll bring his wife,” Maroulis asked. “I don’t know who he’ll bring,” Kimball answered, “but I can bet that he’ll be sitting in the mezzanine.”

Other zingers included a joke about Sarah Palin starring in American Idiot, Stephen Sondheim turning 80 (42 different times) and multiple Spider-Man jokes, one from the kids from South Pacific who read a list of things they learned on Broadway. They included:

1. You can’t get out of a math test because you have mercury poisoning.
2. The boogie man isn’t hiding under your bed and Spider-Man isn’t hiding at the Hilton.
3. You don’t have to be gay to work here, but you do have to be fabulous!

The always funny “Will & Grace” star Leslie Jordan (currently headlining his one-man show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet) had one of the more touching moments of the show, recalling his childhood in Chattanooga, TN. It was 1958, and a three-year old Leslie Jordan wanted nothing more for Christmas than a bride doll. (Jordan explained that even at three years old, he knew he was ready for the pink carpet.) His mother knew it, and so did his father. But, being a good ol' Southern Army General, his father at first didn’t want to accept it, until he finally realized on Christmas day that he was going to accept his son for who he was and ran all around a stormy Chattanooga to find his son the doll he so desperately wanted.

It set the stage for several of the companies to get serious and acknowledge why the support of BC/EFA is so vital, not only to the Broadway community, but to organizations around the world.

Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth and Catherine Zeta-Jones came out to announce the thousands of dollars each company raised for this year’s Bonnet, and to drool over the half-naked awards presenters. “I love the Easter Bonnet,” Lane shouted after ogling a shirtless chorus boy. So do I, do I.

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