Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Raises $700k+ at Flea Market

by Jacob Coakley

The 2014 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised a record $713,986 on Saturday. Thousands of fans perused more than 65 tables worth of Broadway memorabilia and bid on more than 247 Grand Auction items. The tables this year raised an impressive $369,616; the live auction raised $263,850. The top-selling lot of the live auction was a handwritten musical phrase of “Let It Go,” from the hit Disney animated movie Frozen. The phrase was written and signed by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Idina Menzel, who sang the Oscar-winning song in the movie and voiced the lead character. The phrase sold for $9,000. An opportunity to meet Menzel backstage during the run of her current Broadway hit, If/Then, also was among the top live auction lots, bringing in $8,000.

28TH ANNUAL BROADWAY FLEA MARKET & GRAND AUCTION
SHATTERS RECORD & RAISES $713,986 FOR BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS

Broadway fans found everything from rare opening night gifts to classic original Playbills, met their favorite stars and bid on once-in-a-life-time experiences to push the grand total raised Sunday, September 21, 2014, at the 28th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction to an all-time high of $713,986, for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The biggest day of the year for Broadway fans once again brought thousands of theatre lovers into Times Square, Shubert Alley and onto West 44th Street to explore 65 tables overflowing with unique Broadway memorabilia. They met 61 of Broadway's brightest stars at the Autograph Table and Photo Booth, and bid on 247 Grand Auction lots in live and silent auctions.

The 28 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction (#bwayflea), which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, have raised a grand total of $11 million.

This year's Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction shattered the previous record of $681,892, set in 2012. The tables this year raised an impressive $369,616; the live auction raised $263,850. 

“Expanding back into the now-renovated Times Square pedestrian plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets brought a wonderful energy and new fans to what has long been one of the most exciting days for anyone who loves Broadway,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “What started as just a few tables placed outside the Shubert Theatre stage door between shows by the cast of A Chorus Line in 1987 has grown into a full day of celebration for the entire theatre community – not only those who fill these beautiful theatres but also those who create the magic onstage and behind the scenes eight times a week. The unending commitment of all to make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people in our neighborhood and across the country who are living with HIV/AIDS and other serious health issues is deeply appreciated and can never be taken for granted.”

Once again this year, the 65 tables of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction represented Broadway and Off-Broadway's top shows, theatre owners and producing organizations, unions, guilds, marketing groups and ticket agencies, concessionaires and fan clubs. They offered the widest variety of theatre treasures – original crystals taken from chandeliers at the recently restored Schoenfeld Theatre, under-the-sea costume pieces from The Little Mermaid to one-of-a-kind props and sections of long-closed shows' marquees – as well as vintage Playbills, signed show posters, CDs and records, costume sketches, specialty items made by the many of the show’s cast specifically for the day and just about every of kind other show memorabilia imaginable.

The Top 10 tables raising the most money were: Wicked with $21,869; Newsies, back for the day and immensely popular with fans, with $20,173; longtime Flea Market favorite The Phantom of the Opera with $19,210; TDF’s fan favorite “Pik-a-Tik” with $14,392; United Scenic Artists Local 829 with $13,353; Creative Goods Merchandise with $13,222; ATPAM with $11,942; Reel Time Video Production with $11,115; If/Then with $10,061; Les Misérables with $8,083

The Grand Auction included the live auction, which concluded the day, and a series of silent auctions, which were held every 30 minutes throughout the day. The top-selling lot of the live auction was a handwritten musical phrase of “Let It Go,” from the hit Disney animated movie Frozen. The phrase was written and signed by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Idina Menzel, who sang the Oscar-winning song in the movie and voiced the lead character. The phrase sold for $9,000. An opportunity to meet Menzel backstage during the run of her current Broadway hit, If/Then, also was among the top live auction lots, bringing in $8,000.

Walk-on appearances were a Grand Auction favorite with once-in-a-lifetime experiences onstage at Cinderella, Chicago, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera and Rock of Ages collectively bringing in $86,400 with walk-ons in Wicked, Les Misérables and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical leading the charge with bids of $8,000, $7,000 and $6,750 (respectively).

Other top live auction items:

·       Opening night tickets and VIP party passes to The River, opening in November and starring Hugh Jackman, went for $6,200, followed by On The Town for $3,000 and It’s Only a Play for $2,200. In all, 17 opening night ticket and party packages raised $39,750.

·       A separate package to see The River and meet Jackman backstage afterward went for a top bid of $6,000.

·       The opportunity to be a judge at BC/EFA's Gypsy of the Year and Easter Bonnet Competition went to two lucky bidders for $7,000 each.

·       Special auction lots honoring three beloved entertainment legends – Joan Rivers, Elaine Stritch and Robin Williams – raised $5,050.

·       Barbra Streisand's new CD "Partners" signed by Streisand, sold for $1,300 while the full score of the duet “It Had to Be You,” sung by Streisand and Michael Bublé and signed by both sold for $3,000.

This year’s live auction was hosted by Broadway and TV veteran Bryan Batt with BC/EFA’s favorite auctioneer Lorna Kelly who made her 25th appearance at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction.

Earlier in the day, Jen Cody and Michael Goddard hosted the silent auctions, which featured 157 items and raised $80,520.  The top silent auction item, which sold for $5,000, was a musical arrangement of “Can't Take My Eyes Off of You” from Jersey Boys signed by the Bob Gaudio and late Bob Crewe.

As in years past, musical phrases handwritten and signed by Broadway composers and lyricists continue to be among the most-popular lots. A musical phrase of “Tomorrow” from Annie, written and signed by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, raised $4,250.  Two Stephen Schwartz handwritten musical phrases also were among the top silent auction lots: “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin went for $3,750 and “Popular” from Wicked raised $2,600.

Other unique silent auction lots making an impact were a canned peas prop from The Cripple of Inishmaan signed by Daniel Radcliffe, which sold for $1,800, a script from the play The Normal Heart signed by Larry Kramer, which raised $1,600, and a reading script and CD from the ill-fated musical Rebecca, which garnered $1,000.

The always-popular Autograph Table and Photo Booth raised $20,960 from hundreds of fans who cheered with excitement with each group of Broadway and television stars who took their place on the deck of Junior's restaurant.

More than 60 actors donated their time to sign autographs and take photos, including Clyde Alves, Sebastian Arcelus, Kate Baldwin, Jenni Barber, Bryan Batt, Richard H. Blake, Stephanie J. Block, John Bolton, Charl Brown, Krystal Joy Brown, Danny Burstein, Haven Burton, Alan Campbell, Nick Cordero, Kathleen Chalfant, Bryan Terrell Clark, Lauren Cohn, Charlotte d'Amboise, Tony Danza, Linda Emond, Felicia Finley, Jessie Fisher, Beth Fowler, Jonathan Freeman, Boyd Gaines, Lena Hall, Ann Harada, Carly Hughes, Adam Jacobs, Nikki M. James, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Rachel Bay Jones, James Monroe Iglehart, Andy Karl, Andy Kelso, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Lesli Margherita, Constantine Maroulis, Kyle Dean Massey, Judy McLane, Ruthie Ann Miles, Andy Mientus, Bebe Neuwirth, Paul Nolan, Orfeh, David Hyde Pierce, Billy Porter, Ben Platt, Josh Radnor, Courtney Reed, Alice Ripley, Nic Rouleau, Carrie St. Louis, Alex Sharp, Christopher Sieber, James Snyder, Neil Starkenberg, Alton Fitzgerald White, Patrick Wilson and Tony Yazbeck. The charismatic Jim Caruso of “Jim Caruso's Cast Party” at Birdland returned as host of the table, keeping the autograph-seekers entertained as they worked through the line.

The 28th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was 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 $250 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, on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA, on YouTube at youtube.com/BCEFAtv and on Instagram at instagram.com/BCEFA.