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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:04

BC/EFA's 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition Raises $4,250,542

27th ANNUAL
EASTER BONNET COMPETITION
RAISES A RECORD-BREAKING
$4,250,542
TO BENEFIT BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS

Watch & share video of this year's Easter Bonnets

The 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition raised a staggering $4,250,542 – eclipsing the previous high of $3,734,129 set in 2007. The grand total was announced Tuesday after six weeks of intensive fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by 47 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies.

Four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots), two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy) and Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper (Kinky Boots) were on hand to announce the grand total at this year's Easter Bonnet Competition, which ended in two shows featuring original presentations, songs, dances and 19 intricate, custom-made bonnets.

Since the Easter Bonnet Competition began in 1987, the event has raised more than $53 million for Broadway Cares. Last year's event raised $3,706,085.

With a standing-room-only audience filling the Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney's The Lion King, Fierstein, Hanks and Lauper also presented awards to the top fundraising companies and the outstanding bonnet presentation. Jessie Mueller from Nice Work If You Can Get It ended the show with a memorable and stirring rendition of the Easter Bonnet anthem, "Help is on the Way," written by David Friedman.

This year's special guests included Reeve Carney (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Tony winner Victoria Clark (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran (Annie), Shalita Grant (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Ann Harada (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), Tony winner Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), Andy Karl (Jersey Boys), Ron Kunene (The Lion King), Tshidi Manye (The Lion King), three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal), Christopher McDonald (Lucky Guy), Judy McLane (Mamma Mia!), Mark Nelson (My Name is Asher Lev), Christine Pedi (Chicago), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Seth Rudetsky ("Seth's Big Fat Broadway" on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio) and three-time Emmy Award nominee Peter Scolari (Lucky Guy).

The judges were introduced by two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane (The Nance) and Tony winner Andrea Martin (Pippin).

The company of Kinky Boots took top honors for best presentation while the bonnet number featuring the companies of Annie and Newsies was runner up.

There was a tie for the special award for bonnet design. The Lion King and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark shared the honors. The Lion King bonnet was designed by Ilya and Walter; Spider-Man's winning bonnet was created by Sonya Wysocki with Shannon McDowell, Mikey Piscitelli, Danny Mura, Kyle Stewart, Kyle O'Connor and Christel Murdock.

Easter Bonnet Competition, directed again this year by Kristin Newhouse, is the culmination of spring fundraising efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by company members of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions. Participating shows ask audience members for donations as they exit the theatre and often sell autographed posters, Playbills and other unique, show-specific keepsakes to help raise money.

This year's top Broadway fundraising award went to Lucky Guy, which raised $301,549.

Other winning fundraisers were:

Broadway

First Runner-up: Wicked - $244,431
Second Runner-up: The Book of Mormon - $232,260
Third Runner-up: The Phantom of the Opera - $172,435

National Touring Shows

Top Fundraiser: The Book of Mormon – Latter Day Company - $278,054
First Runner-up: Wicked - Munchkinland - $273,637
Second Runner-up: Wicked – Emerald City - $241,030
Third Runner-up: The Book of Mormon – Jumamosi - $188,621

Off-Broadway

Top Fundraiser: Avenue Q - $33,426
First Runner-up: My Name is Asher Lev - $33,149
Highlights from the 27th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition:

The show started with a comedic admission that this year's show was being staged several weeks after Easter, but that didn't matter because the Easter Bonnet Competition is a holiday all its own on Broadway. Mazzie led a talented ensemble of singers and dancers, with surprise appearances by Harada and Rudetsky. The number was directed and choreographed by Al Blackstone, with music direction and arrangements by Ben Cohn and lyrics by Rudetsky.

The cast of Kinky Boots, dressed head-to-toe in brightly colored, hooded unitards, delivered a fantastically whimsical dance, set to Lauper's classic hit "True Colors," complete with gravely voiceover from Fierstein and a surprise appearance by Lauper herself wearing the show's bonnet. Lauper is the composer and lyricist of Kinky Boots; Fierstein wrote the book.

The orphan girls of Annie rumbled with the young paperboys of Newsies in a clever and scrappy "rap-off" to resolve who could lay claim to being the ultimate Broadway show about New York City.
An original song written and performed by Wicked's F. Michael Haynie provided the soundtrack for an emotional dance tribute by the company of Wicked to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last fall.

The cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark stepped into the acrobatic- and circus-world of Pippin, giving that just-opened Broadway revival a new twist, complete with an homage to Bob Fosse's original choreography. The number included a special appearance by Broadway's Spider-Man, Reeve Carney, who donned the show's award-winning bonnet.

A special tribute choreographed by Courtney Young honored the hard-working, long-traveling national touring productions that help fundraise in cities across the country. The number included gigantic, custom bonnets created by company members from the Les Misérables and Mary Poppins tours.

A sharp-tongued encore appearance by Don Richard and Jennifer Cody as "Officer Lockstock and Little Sally" left few on Broadway unscathed from their biting humor.

Other fabulous skits included Avenue Q, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Chicago, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Once; special bonnet presentations from Ann, A Christmas Story and Broadway Green Alliance, plus a mesmerizing dance by MOMIX for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares.

The Easter Bonnet judges included two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots), choreographer Josh Bergasse (NBC's Smash), Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Jekyll and Hyde), Tony winner Cady Huffman (The Nance), Paul Libin, executive vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters and president of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' Board of Trustees, Emmy winner Holland Taylor (Ann) and Michael Urie (Buyer & Cellar). Also joining the judging panel were Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, who both won their spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.

The Easter Bonnet Competition is generously sponsored by The New York Times and United Airlines.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA, watch us on YouTube at youtube.com/BCEFAtv and pin us on Pinterest at pinterest.com/BCEFA.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:08

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