Broadway’s most sensational onstage and offstage stars, passionate fans, avid collectors and animated bidders celebrated the biggest day for Broadway fans on Sunday, September 30, 2018, as the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised $906,825 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Nearly every inch of the NYC Theater District’s West 44th and West 45th Streets and Shubert Alley was filled with rare, eclectic and sought-after memorabilia, Broadway stars eager to take photos and sign autographs, and opportunities to bid on one-of-a-kind experiences. The day-long celebration featured 58 tables, 80 of Broadway’s brightest stars and 210 live and silent auction items.
This year’s grand total – the second highest in the event’s history – will help to provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals, emergency assistance and social service support to those most in need in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The 32 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction have collectively raised $14.5 million.
Fans and collectors hunted for unique theatrical treasures from tables representing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, theatre owners and producing organizations, unions, guilds, marketing groups, ticket agencies, concessionaires and fan clubs.
Fascinating table finds included a chair from the office of prolific Broadway producer David Merrick, autographed and doodled-on sheets from Mean Girls‘ iconic Burn Book, oversized Hello, Dolly! “Sold Out” signs that once hung in Shubert Alley prior to performances, and scarves, jewelry and accessories from the closet of the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Tyne Daly.
William Spaulding from New York City nabbed one of the coveted Hello, Dolly! performance signs. “I lost count of how many times I’ve seen the show,” Spaulding said. “And now I’ll have a piece of it forever.”
Mean Girls‘ Riza Takahashi sold her handmade origami paper cranes, which she makes onstage in the show. “The cranes are my little way of expressing my Japanese heritage on the stage,” Takahashi said. “It meant so much to me that our fans were interested in my origami paper cranes and that they gave back to Broadway Cares.”
The tables at this year’s market raised $442,316. The top 10 tables were: Mean Girls with $34,965; ATPAM with $34,072; Wicked with $24,049; Anastasia with $22,151; Hamilton with $18,120; Dear Evan Hansen with $17,060; TDF’s “Pik-a-Tkt” with $14,877; United Scenic Artists Local 829 with $12,287; Frozen with $11,984 and Creative Goods Merchandise with $10,258.
The day concluded in Shubert Alley with the live auction, which raised $336,700.
The most popular live auction lot of the day was a musical phrase from the Tony Award-winning score of Dear Evan Hansen, signed by Oscar, Grammy and Tony Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, as well as the Tony-winning original Evan Hansen, Ben Platt. The lot raised a staggering $13,000.
The second-most popular lot was a walk-on role in Frozen, including a costume fitting, hair and makeup, which sold for $10,000. A walk-on role in Waitress, featuring onstage appearances in three scenes, sold for $9,400.
Two tickets to the opening night of The Cher Show with exclusive invitations to the after-party raised $4,500. Sixteen of the hottest opening night tickets and party passes raised an incredible $50,800.
Fans were delighted by surprise star appearances throughout the live auction. Aladdin‘s Telly Leung flew in on a magic carpet ride to offer a backstage tour and VIP tickets to the show, which sold for $2,000. Cast members from Chicago offered a jazzy walk-on role, which sold for $6,000. Christy Altomare took auction attendees on a “Journey to the Past” when she offered VIP seats and a meet-and-greet at Anastasia, which sold for $2,400. Come From Away‘s Chad Kimball offered a chance to see the show, kiss the cod and meet Jenn Colella and himself backstage, which also raised $2,400. Michael Luwoye arrived to present revolutionary VIP tickets and a meet-and-greet with himself as Hamilton and co-star Daniel Breaker as Burr at Hamilton, which sold for $3,750. Seth Rudetsky called in to hilariously present, on speakerphone, the opportunity to guest star on his SiriusXM show, which sold for $2,200.
Broadway and television favorite Bryan Batt hosted the live auction with esteemed and charismatic auctioneer Nick Nicholson.
Auction favorites Jen Cody and Michael Goddard returned to co-host the silent auction throughout the day, which raised a record $127,809. The top-selling lot was Ethel Merman’s 1982 Pied Piper Award, along with a photograph with Merman, Lucille Ball and Jerry Herman, which raised $3,750. Other popular lots were a musical phrase from Once on This Island, which sold for $3,250; a lyrics sheet from Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, handwritten and signed by Carole King, which sold for $3,000; and a The Lion King 20th Anniversary commemorative book signed by Sir Elton John, Tim Rice and Julie Taymor, also for $3,000.
In addition to exploring the sea of treasures at the tables and auctions, fans met their favorite Broadway stars at the Autograph Table and Photo Booth, which raised $33,354.
The Broadway favorites who appeared at the table included Zach Adkins, Jelani Alladin, Christy Altomare, Eric Anderson, Brooks Ashmanskas, Major Attaway, Dylan Baker, Erich Bergen, Phoenix Best, Alexandra Billings, John Bolton, Alex Boniello, Anthony Boyle, Dave Thomas Brown, Danny Burstein, John Cariani, Kevin Chamberlin, John Ellison Conlee, Amanda Jane Cooper, Ben Crawford, Ariana DeBose, Micaela Diamond, Ali Ewoldt, Drew Gehling, Bradley Gibson, Gideon Glick, Tamyra Gray, Jason Butler Harner, Erika Henningsen, Grey Henson, Greg Hildreth, Arielle Jacobs, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Adam Kantor, Isabel Keating, Caitlin Kinnunen, Jeremy Kushnier, Sky Lakota-Lynch, Beth Leavel, Telly Leung, Storm Lever, Caissie Levy, Eric Lochtefeld, Taylor Louderman, Katie Lowes, Alex Mandell, Cheech Manohar, Poppy Miller, Eric William Morris, Abby Mueller, Patti Murin, Alex Newell, John O’Hurley, Laura Osnes, Ashley Park, Jamie Parker, Christiani Pitts, Isaac Powell, Jelani Remy, John Riddle, Chita Rivera, Nicolette Robinson, Will Roland, George Salazar, Ben Schnetzer, Angie L. Schworer, Kyle Selig, Adam Shapiro, Christopher Sieber, Jennifer Simard, Ethan Slater, L. Steven Taylor, Paul Thornley, Alysha Umphress, Max von Essen, Jessica Vosk, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Teal Wicks, Tony Yazbeck and Rick Younger.
The effervescent duo of Jim Caruso, host of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland, and Ben Cameron, host of Broadway Sessions at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, hosted the table, which led to unforgettable moments between the stars and fans. Waitress‘ Nicolette Robinson was thrilled when a fan performed an impressive rendition of “She Used to Be Mine,” and the legendary Chita Rivera giggled with delight as she signed her “Lights of Broadway” trading card.
An added bonus at this year’s flea market was a table representing #BeltTheVote, which allowed theatre fans and stars to rally together and register to vote. The initiative, spearheaded on Sunday by actors Todd Buonopane and Kirsten Wyatt, strives to ensure the voices of all members of the theatre community – those onstage, backstage and in the audience – are being heard in the midterm elections this November 6, 2018.
Photos by Bjorn Borland, Michael Kushner and Monica Simoes
Video by Victor Rodriguez; edited by Mo Brady