Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Inc.
BCEFA logo.png
PredecessorEquity Fights AIDS (formed October 1987)
Broadway Cares (formed February 1988)
FormationMay 1992[1] (merger of Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS)
TypeNonprofit organization
PurposeAIDS-related charity
Headquarters165 West 46th Street, #1300
Manhattan, New York City New York 10036
United States

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is an American nonprofit organization that raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States, headquartered in New York City. It is the theatre community's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA has raised over $300 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, and other critical illnesses since its founding in 1988. The organization awards annual grants to over 450 AIDS and family service organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico & Washington D.C., and is the single largest financial supporter of the social service programs of The Actors Fund.[2]


Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was originally two separate organizations. In October 1987, the Council of Actors' Equity Association founded Equity Fights AIDS, and in February 1988, The Producers' Group founded Broadway Cares, both in response to the growing AIDS epidemic. The groups merged in May of 1992, to form Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[1] The new organization was established as a not-for-profit fundraiser and took on the missions of the previous organizations.

At the 47th Tony Awards in 1993, it was awarded a Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre.

Tom Viola has run the organization as its Executive Director since 1996, but has been involved since its inception in 1988. In honor of his exceptional work at Broadway Cares, Viola was awarded a Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre at the 64th Tony Awards in 2010.[3] Viola attributes the growth of the leading organization to the establishment of the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative in 1996.[4]


The organization's grant-making has two emphases. The first is Actors' Fund of America. BC/EFA supports five major social service programs at The Fund, each of which provides direct assistance to entertainment industry professionals and performing artists who are dealing with a variety of problems, including AIDS, HIV, and HIV-related issues. These seven social service programs are the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative, the Actors Health Insurance Resource Center, the Actors Fund Work Program, the Stage Managers' Project and The Dancers' Resource. Since 1988, Broadway Cares has given $73 million to The Actors Fund.[5]

The second major grant-making effort is the National Grants Program, through which the organization makes grants twice a year to more than 450 community-based AIDS Service organizations across the country in all 50 states. These grants total more than $10 million annually. Since 1988, more than $82 million has been given by BC/EFA to AIDS and family service organizations.[6]

These ASOs include:[7]


Broadway Cares has two major fundraising periods, The Easter Bonnet Competition (in the spring) and The Red Bucket Follies Competition (previously known as The Gypsy of the Year Competition) in the Fall.[8] Over six weeks of fund-raising shows on and Off-Broadway engage in a friendly competition to see which show can raise the most money for BC/EFA. Awards are presented to the shows raising the most money and to the winning presentation.

During this fundraising period, actors return to the stage after bows and ask patrons to donate as they leave the theater.[8] Some actors have objected to this, because they oppose asking patrons for more money, or because they do not wish to break character. The shows are in competition to raise funds, and use various approaches, such as auctioning signed memorabilia, to raise more than other shows.

Easter Bonnet[edit]

Easter Bonnet is an annual spring fundraiser in the theatre community, produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares. For six weeks, shows fundraise in their theatres, whether they're on Broadway, Off-Broadway, or touring.[9] Volunteers and cast members hold red buckets after each performance and collect donations. Some shows sell autographed Playbills, posters, and props. Other shows offer auctions to meet the cast backstage or win an autographed prop. At the end of the six weeks, each show is invited to participate in the two-day Easter Bonnet competition. During this competition, performers from participating shows sing and dance while wearing their shows' unique "Easter Bonnets". Guest judges then choose award recipients for best bonnet design and performance.[10]

The 2015 judges at the 29th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition were Actors Fund of America President and CEO Joseph Benincasa, Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn from Fun Home, Corey Cott and Vanessa Hudgens from Gigi, Robert Fairchild and director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon from An American in Paris, Judith Ivey and Rufus Wright from The Audience, and Nathaniel Parker from Wolf Hall Parts One & Two. Two additional judges, Jake Perlman and Peg Wendlandt, were high bidders at the 28th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction.[11] The company of Avenue Q won the 2015 Best Presentation Award, and the company of Jersey Boys won the 2015 Best Design Award for their bonnet.[11]

The 2014 judges at the 28th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition were Gregg Barnes, Christopher Hanke, Carly Rae Jepsen, Michael McKean, Jim Norton, Patrick Page, Annie Potts, Anthony Rapp, and two judges who won their spot on the panel through an auction at the 27th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction.[12] The judges selected The Lion King for best presentation and Once for best bonnet design.[13]

On April 25 and 26, 2016, the 30th Annual event raised $5,528,568. Broadway's Hamilton raised the most money of any show ($516,029). An American in Paris won the Best Bonnet Design award. Performers included Stevie Nicks, Jennifer Hudson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the cast of Hamilton performing a remixed version of the opening number to Hamilton with lyrics about Sweeney Todd. of Sweeney Todd.[14]

On April 24 and 25, 2017, the 31st Annual event raised $6,379,572. Sunset Boulevard raised the most money, followed by Sunday in the Park with George and Dear Evan Hansen. Celebrities included Patti LuPone, Bette Midler, Josh Groban and Ben Platt.[15]

The 32nd Annual edition was held April 23 and 24, 2018. Celebrity presenters included Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield.[16] The show included performances by the casts of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton. Hamilton raised the most money of any show and a tour of Hamilton raised the most money of any tour.

On April 22 and 23, 2019, the 33rd Annual edition was held at the Minskoff Theatre.[17] The fundraising total of $6,594,778 was announced by Bryan Cranston, Kelli O'Hara, Glenda Jackson and Jeff Daniels. The top fundraiser was the Hamilton - And Peggy tour, which raised $513,734. Lin-Manuel Miranda made a surprise appearance to accept the award.

Red Bucket Follies (Prev. Gypsy of the Year)[edit]

In 2018, the competition previously called "Gypsy of the Year" was renamed "Red Bucket Follies."[18]

Every autumn (usually around the end of October till the first week of December), Broadway Cares fundraises in the theatres in NYC and through the national tours. At the end of the six weeks, the shows perform skits showcasing the talents of Broadway's "gypsies" (chorus members). Actors' Equity Association's Gypsy Robe is also featured in this performance.

The first one was held on November 28, 1989. It was hosted by Jonathan Hadary and Tyne Daly. Twelve shows raised a total of $67,000 that year.[19]

The 2013 Gypsy of the Year competition was held on December 9 and 10 at the Minskoff Theatre. Best Presentation was awarded to The Lion King for the second year in a row while Kinky Boots was celebrated as the top fundraiser, bringing in $377,301.[20] The 25th Annual event raised over $4,000,000.[19]

The 2014 Gypsy of Year competition was held on December 8 and 9 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Best presentation was awarded to The Lion King for the third year in a row, while The River took the title as top fundraiser, having raised $549,725. It was followed by It's Only a Play. The event, which featured Hugh Jackman, Judith Light, Nathan Lane, and a 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Wiz, raised $5,229,611.[21]

The 27th edition on December 7 and 8, 2015 raised $4,786,239. The largest fundraiser was the "Latter Day" tour of The Book of Mormon with $344,643. The Lion King won best presentation. Wayne Brady, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christopher Jackson performed a freestyle rap. and the cast of Hamilton performed "Wait for It."[22]

The 28th edition on December 5 and 6, 2016 raised $4,492,636 for Broadway Cares.[23] Celebrities who appeared onstage included Cynthia Erivo, Jessie Mueller and Javier Munoz. The cast of Jersey Boys raised the most money, followed by Hamilton and the national tour of Wicked.

The 29th edition on December 4 and 5, 2017, raised $5,609,211 for Broadway Cares.[24] The largest fundraiser was Dear Evan Hansen followed by Hello, Dolly! and the Angelica tour of Hamilton. The company of Come From Away took top honors for best onstage presentation, and the runner-up was Aladdin. Celebrity appearances included Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Noah Galvin, and Laura Benanti.

The 28th edition on December 3 and 4, 2018 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, the fundraising total was $6,113,301 from 67 Broadway, off-Broadway and touring productions. The top overall fundraiser was the “Angelica” leg of the Hamilton tour, which made $515,152. The musical was also the top fundraiser on Broadway with $414,971.[25]

Broadway Bares[edit]

Broadway Bares is an annual burlesque show fundraiser for the organization, founded by Jerry Mitchell in 1992. Broadway dancers and actors perform striptease dances for the audience at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City for two shows only in June.

The 26th edition, On Demand raised over $1.4 million.[26] Participants included Lesli Margherita, Michael Longoria, Billy Porter, Christopher Sieber, Frankie J. Grande, Daniel Dae Kim, Frank DiLella, Roma Torre and more than 150 dancers.[27] To date, Broadway Bares has raised more than $15 million.

The 2017 edition, "Strip U" raised more the $1.5 million.[28] Participants included Lesli Margherita, Randy Rainbow, Allison Janney, and Judith Light.

The 2018 edition, "Game Night" raised $1.8 million on June 17, 2018.[29] Celebrity performers included Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, and Kirstin Maldonado, as well as 200 other dancers from 16 Broadway shows.

The 2019 edition, "Take Off" raised $2 million on June 16, 2019.[30] Performers included Alex Newell and dancers from 16 Broadway shows.

Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction[edit]

Another major event that Broadway Cares sponsors is the Annual Flea Market and Grand Auction in Shubert Alley each September. The theatre community sells props, costumes and autographed memorabilia to raise money for Broadway Cares. The second part of the day features a live auction where bidders can win anything from a walk-on in a Broadway show, to lunch with a star, to a visit to the set of their favorite TV show. The event raised more than $12.6 million in its 30-year history.[31]

On September 27, 2015, the 29th edition raised $756,655. Participating shows included Hamilton, Wicked, Finding Neverland, The Phantom of the Opera and Something Rotten![32]

In 2016, the 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction raised a record $782,081 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[33] The Flea Market took place in Shubert Alley and West 44th and 45th Streets west of Times Square in Manhattan. Shows raising the most money were Hamilton, Wicked, School of Rock - The Musical and The Color Purple. Celebrities who attended include Jenna Ushkowitz, Melanie Moore, Victoria Justice, Ben Platt and Andy Mientus.

In 2017, the 31st Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction raised over one million dollars, $1,023,309 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[34] The Flea Market took place in Shubert Alley and West 44th and 45th Streets west of Times Square in Manhattan. Shows raising the most money were Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. Celebrities who attended include Christy Altomare, Reed Birney, Stephanie J. Block, Laura Dreyfuss, Kimiko Glenn, Ann Harada, Rachel Bay Jones, Derek Klena], Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Lindsay Mendez, Javier Munoz, Laura Osnes, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Will Roland, and Betsy Wolfe.

On September 30, 2018, the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction raised $906,825.[35] Mean Girls was named the top table. The most popular item was a musical phrase from Dear Evan Hansen signed by composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and original star Ben Platt. Celebrities in attendance included Erich Bergen, Nicholette Robinson, George Salazar. Kyle Selig, Ethan Slater and Will Roland.

Broadway Backwards[edit]

Broadway Backwards is a yearly event that benefits Broadway Cares and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. The first performance was in 2006. The benefit puts a twist on male and female character songs from Broadway and off-Broadway shows. For example, in 2014, Kyle Dean Massey and Jose Llana performed "I Have Dreamed" from The King and I.[36]

The 2014 benefit was held at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on March 24. Raising $423,182, it was the most successful Broadway Backwards to date, surpassing 2013's record-breaking $347,060 raised at the Palace Theatre.[37][38] The 2014 benefit was hosted by Julie White and Bebe Wood and included performances by Jonathan Groff, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Beth Leavel, Norm Lewis, Billy Porter, and Andrew Rannells.[37]

On March 9, 2015, the 10th anniversary event raised $466,717.[39] It featured an all-male twist on "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago.[40] It was hosted by Rob McClure and Julie Halston, and featured performances by Tituss Burgess, Florence Henderson, Telly Leung and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

On March 21, 2016, the 11th edition raised $480,287. Performers included Nick Adams, Krysta Rodriguez, Treat Williams, Lesli Margherita, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Chita Rivera.[41]

On March 13, 2017, the 12th edition raised $522,870. Performers included Josh Groban, Cynthia Erivo, Santino Fontana and Bruce Vilanch.[42]

On April 2, 2018, the 13th edition raised $680,273. Performers included Betsy Wolfe, Alex Newell and Taylor Trensch singing songs from Dear Evan Hansen, The Color Purple and The Greatest Showman.[43]

On March 11, 2019, Broadway Backwards raised $704,491.[44] The show at the New Amsterdam Theatre featured a cast of 130 performers including Gavin Creel, Darren Criss Bebe Neuwirth and Andrew Rannells. The show was hosted by Jenn Collela.

Bucks County Cabaret[edit]

This yearly event is an intimate one-night only concert nestled in the heart of Bucks County. The event is held at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA. It started in 2012, starring Bebe Neuwirth and Malcolm Gets. In 2013, Alan Cumming headlined the event which raised $165,750.[45] In 2014, Linda Eder performed on and raised $131,650 for BC/EFA.[46] In 2015, Lillias White was the event's headliner.[47]

Broadway Bears[edit]

"Broadway Bears" was a charity auction for BC/EFA in which teddy bears representing memorable characters from plays and musicals were auctioned to the highest bidder. The auctions raised $2,048,427 from 1998-2012, when the last of the 643 bears was auctioned off.[48] Each teddy bear is outfitted in an original, handmade costume by Broadway's leading costume designers and many are signed by stars who have portrayed the roles represented or the creative teams behind the productions. For example, these bears included Anything Goes, signed by Sutton Foster; Billy Elliot: The Musical, signed by Sir Elton John and Gregory Jbara; and Follies, signed by Danny Burstein, Jan Maxwell, Bernadette Peters, Ron Raines and Stephen Sondheim.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Staff (23 March 2011). Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Inc. – Financial Statements – 30 September 2010 and 2009. p. 7. EisnerAmper. Retrieved 18 June 2012. "Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Inc. (the "Organization") is a not-for-profit entity formed in 1993 in the State of New York...."
  2. ^ https://www.omaze.com/blogs/causes/broadway-cares
  3. ^ http://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/tom-viola-485450
  4. ^ "BroadwayWorld interview with Tom Viola | Broadway Cares". broadwaycares.org. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  5. ^ "The Actors Fund | Broadway Cares". broadwaycares.org. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  6. ^ "National Grants | Broadway Cares". broadwaycares.org. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b DiLella, Frank (November 23, 2010). "The "Gypsy" in Us All: A Curtain Call To Action" Archived 18 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Bethany Rickwald (6 March 2014). "Broadway's Annual Easter Bonnet Competition Sets a 2014 Date". Theater Mania. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b "52 Shows Propel Easter Bonnet Competition to New Heights". Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Jennifer Broski (23 April 2014). "Photo Coverage: Inside BC/EFA's 2014 Easter Easter Bonnet Competition with Franco, Karimloo, Karl, Mueller & More!- Part One". Broad Way World. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  14. ^ Playbill Staff (26 April 2016). "Hamilton Dominates Easter Bonnet Competition – Event Raises Record $5.5 Million! | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  15. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/sunset-boulevard-dominates-2017-easter-bonnet-competition-event-raises-record-638-million
  16. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/see-nathan-lane-bernadette-peters-andrew-garfield-at-the-2018-easter-bonnet-competition
  17. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/2019-easter-bonnet-competition-reveals-grand-tally-for-bc-efa-and-top-fundraising-shows
  18. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/bc-efas-gypsy-of-the-year-gets-a-new-name
  19. ^ a b http://www.playbill.com/news/article/onstage-backstage-hosting-gypsy-of-the-year-and-talking-with-tyne-daly[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "After Hugh Jackman Sells His Shirts, 26th Annual Gypsy of the Year Breaks Fundraising Record for BC/EFA". Broad Way. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  22. ^ Robert Viagas (9 December 2015). "Hamilton Stars Give Kinky Boots a Gypsy of the Year Edge – $4.79 Million Raised for BC/EFA | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  23. ^ https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/28th-Annual-Gypsy-of-the-Year-Raises-44M-for-BCEFA-20161206
  24. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/who-won-gypsy-of-the-year-2017
  25. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/2018-red-bucket-follies-raises-61-million-watch-highlights-from-the-competition
  26. ^ Robert Viagas (20 June 2016). "Broadway Bares: On Demand Raises $1.48 Million; Watch Video Highlights". Play Bill. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  27. ^ Kyler Geoffroy (24 June 2014). "Broadway Bares Hauls In Over $1.3 Million for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS – VIDEO". Towleroad. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  28. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/college-themed-broadway-bares-strip-u-raises-157-million
  29. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/watch-highlights-from-broadway-bares-game-night
  30. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/watch-highlights-from-broadway-bares-take-off
  31. ^ BWW NEWS Desk (26 September 2016). "Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction Raises Record-Setting $782,081 for BC/EFA!". Broad Way World. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  32. ^ "29th Annual Broadway Flea Market Brings in Record-Breaking Sum for Broadway Cares | Playbill". Playbill. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  33. ^ Hannah Vine and Robert Viagas (28 September 2015). "30th Annual Broadway Flea Market Is a Record Breaker | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  34. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/31st-annual-broadway-flea-market-breaks-fundraising-recordsurpassing-1-millon-mark
  35. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/2018-broadway-flea-market-grand-auction-raises-over-900-000
  36. ^ "At Broadway Backwards 2014". Joe My God. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  37. ^ a b Stage Tube (27 March 2014). "STAGE TUBE: Highlights from BROADWAY BACKWARDS 2014 - Epic Moments, Romance, Comedy and All the Rest!". Broad Way World. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  38. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/sold-out-broadway-backwards-benefit-breaks-fund-raising-record[permanent dead link]
  39. ^ David Clarke (10 March 2015). "Broadway Backwards Breaks Records". Out. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  40. ^ Curtis M. Wong Senior Editor, HuffPost Queer Voices (14 March 2015). "This Hunky, All-Male Twist On 'Cell Block Tango' Will Leave You Breathless". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 July 2016.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  41. ^ "Who Sang What at Broadway Backwards 2016? | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  42. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/check-out-the-stars-who-took-center-stage-at-broadway-backwards-2017
  43. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/broadway-backwards-2018-breaks-fundraising-record
  44. ^ https://broadwaydirect.com/watch-highlights-from-broadway-backwards-2019/
  45. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/tony-winner-alan-cumming-will-headline-bucks-county-cabaret-benefiting-bc-e[permanent dead link]
  46. ^ BWW NEWS Desk (6 October 2014). "Bucks County Cabaret, Featuring Linda Eder, Raises $131,650 for BC/EFA". Broad Way World. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  47. ^ Andrew Gans (24 October 2015). "Tony Winner Lillias White Offers Benefit Concert for BC/EFA Tonight | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  48. ^ Daniel Lehman (21 March 2012). "Final Broadway Bears Auction Sets a Fundraising Record". Back Stage.
  49. ^ Gans, Andrew (19 March 2012). "Final Broadway Bears Fundraiser Brings in Record-Breaking $198,300" Archived 29 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.

External links[edit]