The spirit and generosity of the theatre community shined as brightly as the autumn sun as the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction blew past all previous record totals to raise a spectacular $681,892.The all-day event on Sunday, September 23, 2012, featured 59 tables overflowing with theatrical memorabilia, rare mementos and unique Broadway treasures, more than five dozen stars at the Celebrity Autograph Table & Photo Booth and 207 Grand Auction lots up for bid in live and silent auctions. This year’s event stretched across Times Square to 46th Street, through Shubert Alley and along West 44th Street.
The 26 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction have raised a grand total of $9,870,369. The inaugural edition of the event in 1987 raised $12,000. This year’s total was up $137,384 over 2011’s total of $547,658. The previous record total for the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was $574,000 set in 2000.
The record-setting year was propelled by the immensely popular live auction, which ended the beautifully crisp day with heated bidding wars, all in support of a good cause. The live auction raised $298,300 – the most ever, eclipsing last year’s live auction total of $201,500 and sliding past the previous record of $294,250 set in 1996.
“I am always struck by the extraordinary enthusiasm from hundreds in the theater community, scores of volunteers and truly thousands of theatre lovers and fans whose great generosity of spirit make the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction such an incredible success,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “It’s worth remembering that this fabulous and uniquely Broadway event ultimately is about one thing: helping people in crisis and need. The money raised Sunday will help ensure that more will have access to health care, medications, and support services. It reaches individuals and entire families in need of a nutritious meal and a safe place to call home. Whether you left with an autographed show poster or a one-of-a-kind auction experience, the resources you give so generously will lift up folks much less fortunate for a long time to come. And on their behalf especially, many thanks!”
This year, the 59 tables of the Broadway Flea Market collectively raised $286,087 and represented Broadway’s top shows, several off-Broadway shows and many organizations within the theatrical community. These tables featured many pieces from theatrical history, including Playbills of Broadway opening nights from Oklahoma! toBring It On and autographed posters of practically every show to hit the Great White Way from A Chorus Line toThe Book of Mormon.
Many of the tables featured one-of-a-kind show memorabilia, from small autographed bar coasters used on the set of Once to Wednesday Addams’ full-sized coffin from The Addams Family. There were bracelets crafted from the flight rigging of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and earrings made from guitar picks used in Rock of Ages. The Broadway Green Alliance table featured many upcycled items, including holiday ornaments created from opening night champagne corks. Other unique items included a complete set of trading cards featuring the cast of Newsies and handmade beeswax candles, complete with miniature mustaches, made by Mavis Simpson-Ernst, one of Evita‘s youngest cast members.
The once-a-year market holds a cherished spot in the heart of many Broadway fans. “It’s my yearly pilgrimage to one of the best flea markets in the city,” Alek Douglas said, clutching a just-purchased oversized photo from The Phantom of the Opera. “It’s totally worth it because you find so many rare things that you can’t really find anywhere else, all in one place.”
For Wesley Boozler, it’s something he looks forward to each year. “I live in Florida now and I came back just for theBroadway Flea Market,” he said. “I’ve been coming since the ’90s. You find one-of-a-kind items you can’t find anywhere else. Props, costumes and all sorts of really interesting minutiae from the Broadway community.” Among the treasures Boozler found this year: a red terrycloth robe from Miss Saigon.
The top 10 tables raising the most money this year were: Wicked with $17,245; United Scenic Artists Local 829 with $17,112; Newsies with $14,673; Broadway Beat/Reel Time Video Production with $13,561; TDF with $12,806;The Phantom of the Opera with $9,945; The Araca Group with $9,814; Broadway Impact with $7,888; Creative Goods Merchandise with $7,851 and Max Merchandising with $7,725. View a list of all participating tables.
The Grand Auction included both live and silent auctions. The top-selling lot of the day was a once-in-a-lifetime VIP package to Barbra Streisand’s concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, including a backstage meet-and-greet with the extraordinary superstar. The package raised an astonishing $40,000 from two bidders.Tickets to the New York movie premiere of the much-anticipated Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Aaron Tveit, including passes to the opening night party, raised an equally astounding $32,000.
Other top live auction items:• An evening at the blockbuster revival of Evita, including a backstage meeting with star Ricky Martin and a shirt he wore onstage and autographed, raised $11,000.• A day at The Phantom of the Opera, including an appearance in the show’s opening number, raised $10,800.
• A one-on-one office meeting with iconic theatre producer/director Hal Prince, who’s been at the helm of more than 50 Broadway shows and won 21 Tony Awards, raised $10,000 from two bidders.
• A VIP experience at Once, this year’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, raised $8,500.
• A private lunch with stage-and-screen legend Angela Lansbury raised $8,000.
• Opening night performance and party tickets for 16 upcoming Broadway shows collectively raised $45,700, including $5,200 for Kinky Boots, $5,000 for Annie, $3,500 for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella; $3,000 for Matilda and $2,600 forThe Performers.
• Walk-on roles in Chicago, Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Rock of Ages and The Phantom of the Opera, and backstage experiences with Kelli O’Hara at Nice Work If You Can Get It as well as The Book of Mormon, Once, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked and other shows, collectively raised $62,500.
This year’s live auction was hosted by charming Broadway Cares favorite John Bolton with BC/EFA’s iconic auctioneer Lorna Kelly and actress and auctioneer Tasha Lawrence engaging the bidders.
Earlier in the day, a series of half-hour silent auctions included 144 items and raised $81,505. Longtime Broadway Cares friends Michael Goddard and Kirsten Wyatt tirelessly hosted the silent auctions, engaging last-minute bidders to own a piece of Broadway history. Musical phrases handwritten and signed by Broadway composers and lyricists continue to be among the most-popular lots. The top silent auction item, which sold for $4,500, was a musical phrase of “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal, written and signed by Tony winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.
Gwen Verdon’s opening night gift from the cast of Dancin’ fetched $3,600. A “Carrying the Banner” musical phrase from Newsies, handwritten by Jack Feldman and Alan Menken, sold for $3,100. A framed set of costume design prints from the current revival of Evita, signed by stars Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and Michael Cerveris, brought in a $2,300 donation, as did a Follies poster signed by Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim.
During an afternoon “flash auction,” Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original Annie, welcomed one lucky winner onstage as she sang her famous rendition of “Tomorrow” a capella in its original key. The high bidder donated $600 to Broadway Cares for the honor.
The always popular Celebrity Autograph Table and Photo Booth raised $15,533 from hundreds of fans who waited in line to meet their favorite Broadway and television stars. The always entertaining Jim Caruso and Klea Blackhurst, masters of quick wit and repartee, kept the fans laughing as hosts of the autograph table.
At the autograph table, Celia Keenan-Bolger, a Tony nominee this year for Peter and the Starcatcher, was joined by her brother, the equally talented Andrew Keenan-Bolger from Newsies.
“We’ve had an amazing day here, getting to sit next to each other and signing autographs for everyone,” she said. “When people ask, ‘What’s it like to be on Broadway?’ I think one of my favorite things are days like this when the community comes together and then the fans come together for a good cause.”
More than 60 good friends to Broadway Cares donated their time to meet with fans and sign autographs, including: Jason Gotay, Neil Haskell, Taylor Louderman, Elle McLemore, Ryann Redmond, Kate Rockwell and Adrienne Warren from Bring It On; Debra Monk from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Rob McClure from Chaplin; Patrick Page fromCyrano de Bergerac; Derek Klena and Lindsay Mendez from Dogfight; Bebe Neuwirth from Golden Age; Danny Burstein from Golden Boy; Kate Arrington, Ed Asner and Michael Shannon from Grace; Jeremy Kushnier and Quinn VanAntwerp from Jersey Boys; Lauren Cohn, Felicia Finley, Aaron Lazar and Judy McLane from Mamma Mia!; Stephanie J. Block and Jessie Mueller from The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Harvey Fierstein from Newsies and Kinky Boots; Corey Cott, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kara Lindsay from Newsies; Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath fromNice Work If You Can Get It; Steve Kazee from Once; Ari Graynor from The Performers; Adam Chanler-Berat, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Matthew Saldivar from Peter and the Starcatcher; Karen Mason and Jill Paice from Rebecca; Ann Harada and Laura Osnes from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Jenn Harris from Silence! The Musical; Robert Cuccioli from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark; Jackie Burns and Kyle Dean Massey from Wicked; as well as Charles Busch, Mario Cantone, Tyne Daly, Colman Domingo, Malcolm Gets, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Rebecca Luker, Jan Maxwell, Andrea McArdle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Donna Murphy, Phyllis Newman, Karen Olivo, Bernadette Peters, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Anthony Rapp, Alice Ripley, Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson and more.
Weather and street construction the last few years have presented challenges that have offered Broadway Cares opportunities to expand beyond the traditional space on West 44th Street and in Shubert Alley. Adding Times Square locations the past two years – including the pedestrian plazas on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets in 2011 and, this year, between 45th and 47th Streets – could not have been possible without the tremendous support and guidance of Times Square Alliance Executive Director and BC/EFA Trustee Tim Tompkins and his hardworking staff.
The 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was sponsored by United Airlines, The New York Times and Times Square Alliance.
Photos by Kevin Thomas Garcia, Monica Simoes, Joy Nelson and Stephen Sorokoff