After a two-year in-person hiatus, fans gleefully filled the streets of New York City’s famed Theater District on Sunday, October 3, 2021, coming together in celebration and rejuvenation at the 35th annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction.
The daylong community reunion, which featured 36 tables filled with collectible keepsakes, 144 record-breaking silent auction lots of unique memorabilia, 54 live auction experiences and treasures, plus private video chats with a dozen of Broadway’s brightest stars, raised a remarkable $753,321.
After an all-virtual event in 2020 due to the pandemic (which raised $315,282), this year’s in-person event came roaring back to take over Shubert Alley and West 44th and West 45th Streets in midtown Manhattan. The day also included several online components to allow fans outside New York City to again be a part of the day.
Rebecca Hyatt traveled from Orlando, FL, to celebrate the reopening of live theater by visiting the Broadway Flea Market and taking in a trio of shows. After finding an original Rent manuscript for her “Rent Shrine,” she said: “It’s hard to even put into words how important it is for theater to return. Broadway coming back is about being able to see and do what makes the world better.”
Every dollar donated at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction helps provide lifesaving medication, health care, nutritious meals and emergency support for those living with HIV/AIDS, struggling with COVID-19 or facing other life-threatening illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
“We have so much to be thankful for today,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola told the masked and vaccinated audience at the live auction in Times Square. “We celebrate taking care of each other. We celebrate science. We celebrate vaccinations. And we celebrate making sure all of us can participate in these events for the good of public health. The generosity from all in our theatrical community – those onstage, backstage and in the audience – shined brightly today and will make a lifesaving difference tomorrow for those needing a supportive shoulder or helping hand.”
The 35 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction have collectively raised $16.5 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.
Among the shows represented with merchandise at flea market tables were Aladdin, American Utopia, Beetlejuice, Come From Away, Freestyle Love Supreme, Frozen, Hadestown, Hamilton, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mean Girls, Waitress and Wicked.
Chase Owen, a theater fan from Akron, Ohio, snagged a Beetlejuice lobby sign at the show’s table, as well as two holiday Playbills signed by the show’s cast. “After the year we’ve had, this feels like we’re finally getting back to normalcy. It’s magical, actually.”
The tables at this year’s Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised $281,692, led by one of the highest table totals in flea market history: $42,147 raised by the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM).
Rounding out the top 10 tables were Hamilton and Freestyle Love Supreme with $17,385; Hadestown with $16,378; TDF Pik-a-Tik with $15,900; The Shubert Organization and Telecharge with $14,372; United Scenic Artists with $13,493; Beetlejuice with $11,336; Wicked and Broadway Green Alliance with $11,323; Squigs’ The Lights of Broadway with $9,618 and Moulin Rouge! The Musical with $9,153.
The day concluded in the Times Square pedestrian plaza with the live auction, which raised an impressive $288,050.
The most popular live auction lot of the day was lighting designer Jules Fisher’s 1973 Tony Award and Nomination Certificate for Pippin, which went for $16,200. A virtual meet and greet with Patti LuPone and VIP tickets to Company were won with a $15,000 bid, as was a VIP experience with The Shubert Organization that includes a private, guided tour of The Shubert Archive in the penthouse above Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre.
A pair of wickedly fabulous, Glinda-themed auction lots raised $21,000: a virtual meeting with Kristin Chenoweth, the original Glinda, and a handwritten musical phrase from “Popular” by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz.
A nonet of limited-edition prints by theater illustrator Al Hirschfeld and signed by the stars featured in them raised a collective $57,100, led by Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in Sunday in the Park with George, which went for $11,000. The other signed prints feature Betty Buckley in Cats, Cher in Come Back to the Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Joel Grey in Cabaret, Nathan Lane in The Lisbon Traviata, Donna McKechnie in A Chorus Line, Chita Rivera in The Rink, Bruce Springsteen and Sir Patrick Stewart in The Tempest.
This year’s live auction was led by auctioneer Will Roland and host Sky Lakota-Lynch, both alums of Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen.
Broadway favorites Todd Buonopane and Jennifer Cody co-hosted the silent auction throughout the day in Shubert Alley, which raised a record-breaking $183,579, blowing past the previous record of $128,452 set in 2019.
Jacob Parsily, who came to the Broadway Flea Market from his home in Marlboro, NJ, won a prop from Wonderful Town signed by Brooke Shields at the silent auction. “Getting to see everyone that we haven’t seen in a year and a half is the best thing about Broadway’s return. What more could you ask for than getting to be back in New York doing what we love?”
The top-selling silent auction lot was a typewriter used by Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy from Hanks’ personal collection, which raised $10,000. Other popular lots were a “Defying Gravity” musical phrase handwritten and signed by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz for $8,000; a Mean Girls lunch tray and cast photo signed by the original Broadway cast for $7,000; a Swarovski-designed “Belle Époque” Phantom of the Opera mask for $5,000; a Beth Leavel-signed script from The Drowsy Chaperone and a full set of charcoal sketches drawn onstage by Jake Gyllenhaal during Sunday in the Park with George each sold for $4,100.
The fan favorite Autograph Table and Photo Booth moved online again this year with one-on-one video chats with Broadway favorites. The chats, similar to FaceTime calls and handled through the Looped app, featured video meet and greets with Shoshana Bean, Nadia Brown, Ben Crawford, Gavin Creel, Jennifer DiNoia, Claybourne Elder, Christopher Fitzgerald, Drew Gehling, J. Harrison Ghee, Thayne Jasperson, Jenny Jules, Javier Muñoz, Eva Noblezada, Lindsay Pearce, Analise Scarpaci and L. Steven Taylor.
In addition to the tables of theatrical treasures from Broadway shows and organizations lining streets of the Theater District, special “Fleabay” bundles in Broadway Cares’ eBay store offered unique memorabilia for fans who were not able to attend in person.
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was supported by Broadway Cares corporate partner The New York Times.