Record-Breaking Holiday Drive Raised Over $29,000 Towards Fight Against HIV and AIDS

by Naomi Crews

David Lowenstein (as Edna) poses with patrons in the lobby as Kyle Anderson (Corny Collins) takes a photo. Photo by Michael Davis.

Syracuse cast members and stage patrons worked together to raise over $29,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. 



Record-Breaking Holiday Drive Raised Over $29,000

towards Fight against HIV and AIDS

(Syracuse, NY)—This past holiday season, Syracuse Stage patrons donated over $29,000 for organizations providing support for people living with HIV or AIDS. This marks a record-breaking figure for the annual campaign in Syracuse, an effort coordinated by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at theatres across the nation. In 21 years of the campaign at Syracuse Stage, audience members have donated over $337,000 for this cause.

Collections will be divided among three organizations— Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and two local organizations—The DePalmer House, and the Pediatric AIDS Unit at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. 

Leading the efforts were cast members of Hairspray, a co-production between Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University’s Department of Drama. After each performance, cast members were stationed in the lobby to greet patrons, sign posters, and take pictures. Mark David Kaplan, an Equity cast member and alumnus of Syracuse University Department of Drama, led many of the appeals with a speech after the final bows. 

“To our amazing audience members that gave so much, THANK YOU for your care and support. We are overwhelmed by your passionate generosity,” said Kaplan. “Having collected for this cause for the better part of two and half decades, it is encouraging to see people of all ages and different life experiences spring forward in service. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been part of this effort, this cast, and the Central New York community.”

In addition to donating towards Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Hairspray patrons donated non-perishable food items that will stock the pantry at Grace Episcopal Church, and over 150 winter coats, hats, and gloves that been given to the students and families at Franklin Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District. 

Hairspray was co-produced by Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University’s Department of Drama in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The Presenting Sponsor for Hairspray was Onondaga County/CNY Arts.  Sponsors were Key Bank, The Allyn Foundation, Grandma Brown Foundation, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The Media Sponsor was WAER Syracuse Public Media. The 2014/15 Season Sponsor is Syracuse Media Group.