Despite tough times, the 2010 edition of The Broadway Bears proved what a strong, loyal fan base this unique and charming event has. Hosted for the first time by musical comedy favorite John Bolton (#3), and staged again at BB King Blues Club & Grill (#2) on February 14, THE BROADWAY BEARS XIII auction brought the event’s cumulative fundraising total to an impressive $1,740,072.18!
Generously donated by the North American Bear Company, a total of 42 teddy bears and one doll donated by Tonner Doll Company, Inc. – transformed into uniquely costumed, handmade, one-of-a-kind collectibles – raised $101,095 through online bids, telephone bids and, of course, live bids from over 150 eager participants in the room all responding to the persuasive charm of BC/EFA’s own auctioneer, Lorna Kelly (#1).
For 2010, the evening’s top bids went to:
- Mrs. Wilkinson (#4) from Billy Elliott, the musical ($8,000), created by D. Barak Stribling and signed by Haydn Gwynne, Stephen Daldry, and Sir Elton John;
- Lord Farquaad (#5) from Shrek, the Musical ($8,000), created by Zoë Morsette and signed by Christopher Sieber;
- Griddlebone (#7) from Cats ($6,000), created by Therese Stadelmeier-Tresco and signed by Betty Buckley;
- Liza Minnelli (#8) from Liza’s at the Palace ($4,000), created by Donna Langman Costumes and signed by Liza Minnelli;
- Drew (#6) from Rock of Ages ($6,000), created by Karl Ruckdeschel and D. Barak Stribling and signed by Constantine Maroulis;
- Doralee Rhodes (#9) from 9 to 5 ($3,750), created by Julie Song and signed by Megan Hilty and Dolly Parton;
- Song Liling (#10) from M. Butterfly ($3,000), created by Brionna McMahon and signed by B.D. Wongand John Lithgow.
Other bears included: Ludwig von Beethoven from 33 Variations (signed by Jane Fonda and Zach Grenier); Desiree Armfeldt from A Little Night Music (signed by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stephen Sondheim); Joey and Denny from A Steady Rain (signed by Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman); Carrie Fisher with Princess Leia hair from Wishful Drinking (signed by Fisher); King Berenger from Exit the King(signed by Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose, Andrea Martin, Brian Hutchison and William Sadler); Cassie from A Chorus Line (signed by Donna McKechnie), and a delightfully bug-eyed Igor fromYoung Frankenstein (signed by Mel Brooks and Christopher Fitzgerald).
Stars Illuminate Their Bears
The evening began with bustling cocktail reception at which VIPs, special guests and eager bidders could see this year’s bears on display and meet the extraordinarily talented and dedicated designers who created them.
Early in the evening, BROADWAY BEARS XIII Producer Scott T. Stevens singled out Brionna McMahon and Robert Strong Miller, two bear designers whose creations have raised more than $50,000 as of last year’s auction, as well as Terry Sipress and Therese Stadelmeier-Tresco, both of whom passed the $50,000 mark with their newest creations.
At the start of the auction, Bolton (Curtains) was joined by Felicia Finley (The Wedding Singer) (#11 with Bolton) and backed by Musical Director Michael Lavine on a humorous medley featuring songs from Hair, Finian’s Rainbow and other recent shows with lyrics rewritten by longtime BEARS friend, Douglas Braverman. And, as always, a variety of Broadway’s favorite performers turned out to introduce bears based on their characters or from shows in which they’ve appeared.
“As Bloody Mary would say, ‘You like? You buy?’” quipped Loretta Ables Sayre (#12), Tony Award nominee from Lincoln Center’s acclaimed revival of South Pacific. “It’s such an honor to have a bear designed after the character you are portraying on Broadway,” she added. “But it’s even more gratifying to be helping an organization like Broadway Cares which does such a fantastic job assisting so many in our community in their time of need. BROADWAY BEARS was a bloody good time!”
Ann Harada, fresh from December’s sold out Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve benefit for BC/EFA, did double duty. “I was so happy to present a bear from my first Broadway show, M. Butterfly (#13), and my most recent Broadway show, 9 to 5! Next year I hope there’s a bear fromSeussical!”
While Christopher Sieber worked the audience into a frenzy spurring on bids for Zoë Morsette’s intricate recreation of his Lord Farquaad (#14) from Shrek, the Musical, which even included kneeling bear legs on casters. “Come on, I performed this role on my knees,” said the two-time Tony Award nominee, who achieved his goal of meeting the total achieved by the bear from Billy Eilliot, which was boosted by Michael Dameski, Alex Ko and Liam Redhead (#15), the three young performers who share the show’s title role.
One of the Billy’s, Aussie Michael Dameski, explained how thrilled he was to be able to participate in the event and be a part of the Broadway community through BC/EFA events, “I had lots of fun with the bears. We don’t have anything like that in Australia. Broadway people do things together andI like feeling part of it.”
Liza Minnelli collaborator Jim Caruso introduced Liza’s bear (#16) and shared an exuberant message from the legendary star. “I have a couple of things to say. Liza had surgery on her knee so you get me,” he said. “She is thrilled to be part of this and she’s still laughing about the bear’s little shoes.”
Stevens helped wrap up the evening with a preview of next year’s auction, whetting the audience’s appetite when he brought out a Sarah Brightman bear as Christine Daaé, the role she originated in The Phantom of the Opera.As always, BC/EFA is indebted to all the marvelously creative and talented people who designed, outfitted, costumed, draped, frocked, dressed, shod, hatted, lipoed, painted, armored, tattooed, stuffed, wigged, bejeweled and feathered this year’s collection. THE BROADWAY BEARS XIII. With their extraordinary artistry and most generous contribution of time, talent and precision, we could not have presented these exquisite one-of-a-kind cubs to you.
THE BROADWAY BEARS XIII was sponsored by Continental Airlines, The New York Times and The North American Bear Company, Inc.
1st row: Maryanne Oldenburg, Kari Love, Karl Ruckdeschel and Barry Doss
2nd row: Olivia Barrand, John Robelen, Brionna McMahon, Nicky Tobolski, Julie Song and Ananda Keator
3rd row: Ginger Robertson, Joe Petrollese, D. Barak Stribling, Susan Bolt, Zoë Morsette, Gloria J. Winer and Terry Sipress