Expectations were high for a happy homecoming to Shubert Alley after last year’s temporary move to Roseland Ballroom and, thankfully, the sun shined brightly for most of the day as the BROADWAY FLEA MARKET and GRAND AUCTION returned to its longtime home at Shubert Alley and 44th Street. The 24th edition of what Time Out New York calls one of the city’s “best once-a-year markets” raised an astounding $476,917 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, well above 2009’s total of $403,929.
“We were thrilled to be back outside in Shubert Alley. It felt like coming home,” explained Executive Director Tom Viola. “Just as exciting was the remarkable turnout of attendees, the extraordinary number of highly successful tables and the tremendous success of both our silent and grand auctions.”Between 10 AM and 7 PM, more than 25,000 theatre fans and Broadway Cares supporters came by to shop for bargains, bid on exclusive experiences and rare one-of-a-kind theatre memorabilia and meet some of their favorite Broadway and daytime TV stars. This year’s event featured tables from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, management offices, unions, production offices and other theatre-related businesses.
Since its debut in 1987, when it raised $12,000, 24 editions of this extremely popular event have raised a grand total of $8,638,669 for the social services provided by The Actors Fund and the hundreds of AIDS and family service organizations BC/EFA supports each year.
Top Shows Show Support
Tables representing The Addams Family, American Idiot, Avenue Q, Billy Elliot, In the Heights, Imaginocean, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music, The Lion King, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Mary Poppins, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, Tales from the Tunnel, The Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story and Wickedwere set up throughout Shubert Alley and along 44th Street. Theatrical unions and guilds, including Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Managers Association, ATPAM and United Scenic Artists were also on hand.
The Broadway League, The Araca Group, the American Theatre Wing, TDF, Lincoln Center Theatre were among the theatrical offices participating, joining such long-time friends of BC/EFA as The Actors Fund, Grey Advertising and Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Chatterbox, as well as Dancers Over 40, Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, Paper Mill Playhouse, Givenik.com, The Broadway Green Alliance, Broadway Impact, R.Evolucion Latina (which joined forces with members of the company of the Broadway smash, In the Heights) and the good folks at The Actors Temple, The Actors’ Chapel, the Episcopal Actors Guild and many others, including a very special visit from Kristin Chenoweth and “Maddie” at Maddie’s Corner.
All told, 72 tables offered a wide range of theatre-related items and memorabilia for sale, including countless books and scripts, thousands of recent and vintage Playbills, original costume pieces, VHS tapes, jigsaw puzzles, coat-hanger sculptures, children’s toys, autographed show posters and T-shirts, as well as unique and original handcrafted items such as handmade Christmas ornaments, wire sculptures and jewelry made from costumes and set pieces of Broadway’s most popular shows. Read more about the unique and original items created for THE BROADWAY FLEA MARKET by members of the participating Broadway companies. Additionally, theatre fans could win tickets at TDF’s pic-a-tic table and HHC’s Wheel of Fortune or purchase dvds of BC/EFA’s best events from Broadway Beat.
Hungry shoppers didn’t have far to go to refuel on a variety of snacks and baked goods. The Lion King pulled out all the stops with a full bake sale, featuring macaroons, Bundt cake, chocolate peanut butter cake and much more. The Addams Family served up “Fester’s Moon Pies,” “Lurch’s Lemonade” and “Grandma’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches,” while Billy Elliot offered “Grandma Elliot’s Sausage Rolls.”
Before the afternoon was over, $239,342 was raised at these 72 tables alone. The Top 11 Tables were:
$12,171 Broadway Beat
$10,164 American Idiot
$ 6,660 The Phantom of the Opera
$ 6,626 United Scenic Artists Local 829
$ 6,458 Maddie’s Corner
$ 6,367 Next to Normal
$ 5,883 The Addams Family
$ 5,616 Triton Gallery
$ 5,313 Billy Elliot
Broadway’s Famous Meet Friends
Daytime TV’s finest were represented with Terri Colombino, Ellen Dolan, David Andrew MacDonald, Austin Peck, Vanessa Ray and Colleen Zenk.
Exciting and New!
It may look like the world’s largest, old-fashioned swap meet, but the Broadway Flea Market tries to keep things fresh, introducing new ways of participating for loyal shoppers who return each year. Online pre-bidding on auction items has been added in recent years so that people who can’t make it physically to “the alley” can still get involved in the fun. Led by guest barker Buddy Casimano, Dancers Responding to AIDS, a fundraising program of Broadway Cares, added a carnival-like atmosphere to Shubert Alley by presenting 42 youthful and energetic dancers ages seven to 19 from the United States Acrobatic & Dance Team executing leaps, jumps and turns for donations to BC/EFA, large and small.
Competitive shopping was the order of the day with the first annual Broadway Scavenger Hunt, organized by TheaterAdvisor.com. “The concept evolved from our desire to find a way to help Broadway Cares even though we didn’t have anything specific to sell. I think we created a great scavenger hunt that included purchases, tasks and theatre trivia, and gave everyone a chance to win prizes,” said Theater Advisor’s Lane Beauchamp. “Several tables in particular helped by having tasks or special items in the hunt, including La Cage Aux Folles, Mary Poppins, The Lion King and The Broadway Workshop.”
Downloads were flying through cyberspace over West 44th Street as fans at “The Broadway Challenge” table loaded the table’s namesake application making its debut at The Broadway Flea Market onto their iPhones. Once armed with “The Broadway Challenge” on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, fans went off to compete in cyberspace. The high scorer of the day received a brand new iPod courtesy of Broadway and film producer Dori Berinstein, who developed “The Broadway Challenge” application as a fundraising opportunity for BC/EFA.
Silent Auction Roars
With new items presented each hour from 10 AM to 4 PM, this year’s silent auction, hosted by Michael Goddard, Megan Sikora and Kirsten Wyatt, was “the little engine that could,” with 114 items raising an impressive $55,925, $19,425 above the previous year’s total. Stephen Sondheim’s signature proved to be the Midas touch with two collectibles from A Little Night Music — “Soon,” a musical phrase handwritten and signed by Sondheim ($3,500) and a souvenir program from 1973’s original Broadway production ($1,500), also signed by Mr. Sondheim.
“For Good,” a musical phrase from the smash hit Wicked, handwritten and signed by Stephen Schwartz, sold for $2,900, while a 2009 Broadway season photo taken by Mark Seliger for Vanity Fair, signed by all participants including Geoffrey Rush, Joan Allen, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeremy Irons, James Gandolfini, Matthew Broderick, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Lane, Susan Sarandon, Bill Irwin and others sold for $2,000.
Broadway newcomer American Idiot had an impressive showing with two musical phrases “Good Riddance,” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” signed by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, sold for $2,000 and $1,925, respectively. Jersey Boys offered a “Walk Like a Man” musical phrase, handwritten and signed by Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli ($1,750), while a Chicago Cubs jersey, worn by Daniel Craig in A Steady Rain and signed by Craig and costar Hugh Jackman, sold for $1,500. A 2010 Tony Awards poster, signed by more than a dozen Tony Award winners and nominees, sold for $1,250 and a signed front-of-house photo of Gavin Creel from Hair went for $1,150.
The Main Event
The day drew to a close with The Grand Auction as BC/EFA’s favorite auctioneer Lorna Kelly joined returning host Bryan Batt at the podium from 5 to 7 PM. The 44 lots featured in this year’s auction raised $126,650 with the added excitement of the opportunity of pre-bidding on CharityBuzz and the BC/EFA website in the days leading up to Lorna’s gavel coming down in Shubert Alley.
Walk-on roles in top shows always prove popular and this year was no exception, with an opportunity to appear in Wicked, selling for $16,500! Chances to appear in Promises, Promises ($5,250), Rock of Ages ($4,200), Chicago($4,200) and In the Heights ($3000) also offered some competitive bidding wars. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Florence Henderson on the set of Dancing With the Stars sold for $9,000!
VIP tickets to The Addams Family, A Little Night Music, Driving Miss Daisy and Million Dollar Quartet with special backstage visits with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth; Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch; Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines; and Levi Kreis sold for thousands of dollars each.
Tickets to opening night and the after-party for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring BC/EFA’s great friend and theatre fan favorite Daniel Radcliffe, sold for $10,000, followed by the opening of Elling for $3,000 and The Book of Morman for $2,200, while a tank top worn by Daniel Craig in A Steady Rain, signed by Craig and costar Hugh Jackman, sold for $6,500.
A VIP visit to the set of ABC’s Modern Family (starring Broadway favorite Jesse Tyler Ferguson) sold for $3,400. A special Adam and Anthony Live! Experience with Rent stars Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal sold for $3,200. Extraordinary signed photographic portraits of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes; Angela Lansbury in Deuce, Laura Linney and Cherry Jones taken by famed photographer Rivka Katvan went to eager bidders with winning bids in the thousands of dollars.
Without doubt, what some have described as “Broadway’s company picnic” had something for everyone, at every price point. It was an afternoon of great camaraderie, fantastic shopping and treasure hunting and all for a very good cause.
The 25th Annual FLEA MARKET and GRAND AUCTION will return to Shubert Alley on Sunday, September 25, 2011.
Special thanks to photographers whose work is represented on this page:
Peter James Zielinski, Monica Simoes, Peter Gibbons and Ken Blauvelt.
The 24th Annual BROADWAY FLEA MARKET and GRAND AUCTION Corporate Sponsors: