A stunning fall day set the perfect stage September 25, 2016, as Broadway fans searched for endless theatre treasures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences at the 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, which raised a record $782,081.
Everything you love about Broadway was all in one place as rare Broadway memorabilia, celebrity meet-and-greets and more wooed fans to Shubert Alley and West 44th and 45th Streets. The day-long celebration of all things Broadway featured 68 tables, 73 of the brightest stars on the Great White Way and 206 live and silent auction items
The 30 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction have collectively raised $12.6 million. This year’s total shattered the previous record of $756,655, set last year.
“I’m so proud and thrilled to see this remarkable event grow into the biggest day of the year for the Broadway fan in all of us – whether we work onstage, backstage or cheer from the audience,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “Every dollar earned at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction will go back into our community and across the country as Broadway Cares continues to provide vital, lifesaving support to the people who need it most. The money we raise from a signed Playbill or prop, a walk-on experience or opening night ticket package has the potential to change someone’s life.”
Fans added unique pieces to their own theatrical collections from the tables representing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, theatre owners and producing organizations, unions, guilds, marketing groups, ticket agencies, concessionaires and fan clubs.
Notable finds included a smashed, autographed guitar from a moment cut from Waitress, a dazzling silver jacket costume piece from On Your Feet!, signed by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and copies of the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” signed by the cast of Hamilton.
The tables this year raised $395,601. The top 10 tables were: Hamilton with $38,976; Wicked with $22,185; TDF’s fan favorite “Pik-a-Tik” with $17,621; Creative Goods Merchandise with $16,821; ATPAM with $16,148; Waitress with $11,705; artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson and The Lights of Broadway Show Cards with $11,602; Reel Time Video Production with $11,115; School of Rock – The Musical with $10,433; and The Color Purple with $10,404.
A special table, dubbed Act III, featured items from recently closed shows, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, Les Misérables and Shuffle Along…. The Act III table raised $12,334.
The day concluded in Shubert Alley with the live auction, which raised a record-breaking $301,400.
Some of the most popular lots featured walk-on roles in Broadway’s hottest hits. The top-selling lot of the evening was a walk-on role in the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots, which went for $15,000.
Tickets to the opening night of Hello Dolly! starring the iconic Bette Midler as well as passes to the star-studded after-party raised $13,000. In all, 19 opening night packages, which included passes to the VIP celebratory parties afterward, raised $67,150.
Other popular auction items included a seat as a judge at Broadway Cares’ Gypsy of the Year and Easter Bonnet Competition, which raised $12,000; and walk-on roles in Wicked, which went for $10,500, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical for $9,750, The Phantom of the Opera for $8,000, Jersey Boys for $5,200 and The Lion King for $4,100.
The star of Hamilton, Javier Muñoz, surprised auction attendees when he walked out on stage to motivate bidding on two VIP house seats to the Tony Award-winning smash hit. The lot also included a backstage meet-and-greet with Muñoz and co-stars Brandon Victor Dixon and Christopher Jackson and a signed poster. Thanks to Muñoz’s efforts, the lot raised $6,250.
Later in the auction, Hamilton’s own King George III, Rory O’Malley, made an appearance to offering two of his own tickets to the show, a private backstage meeting with O’Malley and a poster signed by the entire cast. The lot sold for an impressive $5,000. Similar packages at the auction included tickets to Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and a meeting with its star Josh Groban, which raised $5,000; seats at On Your Feet! with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Gloria and Emilio Estefan for $5,000; and tickets to the much-anticipated revival of The Front Page including a meet-and-greet with star Nathan Lane for $5,000.
Broadway and television favorite Bryan Batt joined Grand Auction first-timer acclaimed auctioneer Nick Nicholson to host the live auction. Nicholson is a senior vice president at Freeman’s in Philadelphia. He follows in the footsteps of his dear friend Lorna Kelly, Broadway Cares’ longtime auctioneer and friend who passed away this summer.
Kelly’s legacy was recognized throughout the event; in memory of the signature pink streak Kelly donned in her hair, Broadway Cares’ official T-shirt for 2016 was a bright shade of pink. Viola gave a moving speech in honor of Kelly at the opening of the live auction, and Nicholson used Kelly’s beloved gavel, which he inherited from the legend herself.
Auction favorites Jen Cody and Michael Goddard co-hosted the silent auction throughout the day, which raised $80,080. The top selling silent auction item at $3,250 was an “At This Performance” sign from Shuffle Along…, autographed by its star-studded cast. Two Hamilton items – a poster signed by the original cast and a handwritten and signed musical phrase of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Just You Wait” – each raised $3,000.
In addition to exploring the endless gems at the tables and auctions, fans also met their favorite Broadway stars at the Autograph Table and Photo Booth, which raised $22,511
The Broadway stars who appeared at the table were Christy Altomare, Michael Arden, James Barbour, Bryan Batt, Richard H. Blake, John Bolton, Alex Brightman, Danny Burstein, Haven Burton, Carolee Carmello, Will Chase, Leanne Cope, Corey Cott, Jason Danieley, Ariana DeBose, Jennifer DiNoia, Jordan Donica, Brandon Victor Dixon, Ali Ewoldt, Robert Fairchild, Aaron C. Finley, Lora Lee Gayer, Drew Gehling, John Glover, Mandy Gonzalez, Joel Grey, Josh Grisetti, Ann Harada, Heather Headley, Jessica Hecht, James Monroe Iglehart, Ben Jacoby, Rachel Bay Jones, Judy Kaye, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Chilina Kennedy, Derek Klena, Jeremy Kushnier, Diane Lane, Lexi Lawson, Kara Lindsay, Lesli Margherita, Marin Mazzie, Rob McClure, Andy Mientus, Melanie Moore, Javier Muñoz, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Rory O’Malley, Christopher John O’Neill, Brad Oscar, Ben Platt, Courtney Reed, Jelani Remy, Nic Rouleau, Megan Sikora, Carrie St. Louis, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jenna Ushkowitz, Ana Villafañe, Max von Essen, Adrienne Warren and Jessica Keenan Wynn.
Special guests from two upcoming television musicals joined the table. From NBC’s production of Hairspray Live! were Maddie Baillio, Harvey Fierstein, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Jerry Mitchell. From Fox TV’s upcoming The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again were Reeve Carney, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan and Ben Vereen.
Jim Caruso of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland returned as host of the Autograph Table and Photo Booth.
The biggest day of the year for Broadway fans created a lasting memory for those who took part.
“I think that when people stand together in the light of something positive and support those who might not otherwise have a chance or a voice, that’s powerful,” On Your Feet! star Ana Villafañe said. “And that’s why we’re here.”
Photos by Joy Nelson, Monica Simoes and Matthew Stocke
Video by Mo Brady and Eric Thielman; highlights video edited by Mo Brady