At the 24th Annual Broadway Flea Market, 72 tables raised over $230,000 for BC/EFA by selling everything from rare, original Broadway costume sketches to homemade cupcakes made by company members of your favorite shows. A pretty impressive figure when you consider that it all started in 1987 when the cast of A Chorus Line launched the first BROADWAY FLEA MARKET largely by selling items left behind by actors and company members in dressing rooms during the show’s long run on two tables set up outside of their stage door in Shubert Alley. Since then, wares at the BROADWAY FLEA MARKET have been sold by virtually every theatrical management office, union, and fan club associated with Broadway. Still, the creative spirit behind items sold at the Broadway show tables remain the “heart and soul” and main draw for fans and theatre professionals alike.
Props, costume pieces and set dressings that normally would be thrown away when replaced are carefully hoarded 12 month a year by actors, stagehands and stage managers all over Broadway with the knowledge that they will bring in the dollars at Shubert Alley and West 44th come September. Nowhere is this more evident than at The Phantom of the Opera where sales from the Phantom’s noose, notes from the “opera ghost” and even pieces from the elephant in the Hannibal scene all contributed to the over $6,000 raised by this long running hit. Rock and roll hits American Idiot and Rock of Ages had the similar idea of selling battered drumsticks and drumheads from the show autographed by their companies. The demand for these items were great and certainly contributed to over $10,000 raised at the Green Day tuner’s table.
2010 Best Musical, Memphis, sold broken 45s used onstage signed by stars Chad Kimball and Montego Glover. Broadway’s highest grossing show was also the BROADWAY FLEA MARKET’s highest grossing table. The company of Wicked brought in over $19,000 this year by selling everything from shoes worn by members of the Broadway company onstage to retired latex flying monkey masks. However, one of the most popular items at the Wicked table were OZ truly captures the spirit of the Broadway community’s creativity at this event. The company of Wicked created jewelry made from beads and pendants that had fallen off the Tony Award-winning costumes throughout the run. Off Broadway’s long running Love, Loss and What I Wore added star power by offering the celebrity sketches on foam core used once during each performance autographed by cast members ranging from Tyne Daly to Rosie O’Donnell.
Culinary skills were on display at this year’s BROADWAY FLEA MARKET. Thanks to skilled chefs and bakers at numerous Broadway shows, West 44th was turned into a smorgasbord of delectable delights where hungry shoppers had ample opportunities to refuel. Savory offerings ranged from “Gran’ma Elliot’s Sausage Rolls” at the Billy Elliot table to “Grandma Addams’ Pulled Pork Sandwiches” at The Addams Family table. Those with a sweet tooth had their pick at The Lion King’s table where the variety of baked goods put a small bakery to shame.
Handcrafted items are always a popular draw to any table. Among the many items featured at the Mary Poppins table were handmade replicas of popular muppets created by master puppeteers. Following in the puppet vein were unique puppets made by company members at Off Broadway’s family hit, John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean. Some of the most unique items offered anywhere could be found at the La Cage Aux Folles table where one-of-a-kind, handmade sculptures and figurines created by Longacre Theatre doorman Regan Kimmel out of scraps of metal and electrical wire. Over sixty of Kimmel’s creations sold at the La Cage table, one sculpture of the musical’s couple Georges and Albin in a bidcage was featured in the Grand Auction where it fetched $700!
The creativity displayed at the BROADWAY FLEA MARKET showed that the talent in the Broadway community goes beyond the footlights. That creativity, however, is not unmatched by shear enthusiasm and an extraordinary commitment to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by all involved.