Enthusiastic theater fans filled New York City’s famed Theater District searching for treasures and gathering purely for the love of the Broadway theater community at the 36th annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction. The day-long event on September 25, 2022, raised a record-breaking $1,043,825.
The day brought Broadway out of the theaters and into the streets, providing fans the opportunity to discover and purchase unique memorabilia at 52 flea market tables hosted by Broadway shows and theatrical organizations. Attendees also bid on one-of-a-kind experiences and notable keepsakes from 146 silent auction lots and 66 live auction lots.
At the ultimate theatrical treasure hunt, fans scouted for keepsakes at the tables. Kevin Hettrich from Pennsylvania, attending his third flea market, arrived with a specific mission: to find a representative item of his “twin,” Les Misérables. He was born at 10:48 pm, just minutes after the curtain call for the opening night of the original Broadway production. “My mom said when they were hitting the barricade in the musical, so was she.” He searched through the tables and went home happily with a poster and souvenir program.
Courtney Modio from New Jersey came to Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction “to see show tables and the awesome fans and help a great cause.” Clad in black-and-white stripes with matching emerald-green hair, Modio said: “Beetlejuice helped me fall in love with Broadway and New York. It captured my soul, no pun intended. Any time I get to come to New York to see the show and support the cast it’s like winning the lottery.”
At the #BroadwayFlea, fans and stars are united by their love of theater. While the lines of fans for Beetlejuice and The Phantom of the Opera stretched down the block, Kristin Chenoweth hosted her own Kristin’s Kloset, full of costumes and treasures she rescued from storage, and Sutton Foster sold her crocheted koozies at The Music Man’s table just steps away.
Dozens of Broadway stars were spotted showing their spirit, working their show’s table or shopping alongside fans.
Chenoweth fans rejoicified as she hosted a bevy of special guests at the debut of her Kristin’s Kloset. In addition to selling autographed books and racks of clothes, Wicked’s original Glinda organized a pop-up photo booth with cameo appearances including Victor Garber, Joel Grey, Ann Harada, Marc Kudisch, Ilana Levine, Marissa Rosen, Jennifer Simard and Jessica Vosk.
The Broadway shows that participated included Aladdin, Beetlejuice, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Funny Girl, Hadestown, Into the Woods, The Kite Runner, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Music Man, The Phantom of the Opera, Six, Some Like It Hot, A Strange Loop and Wicked.The Curtain Call table featured items from recently closed shows like Company, POTUS and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.
Dear Evan Hansen, which played its final performance September 18, 2022, supplied clamoring fans with souvenirs from the show, all themed in the Tony-winning musical’s signature blue.
Come From Away, which closes on Broadway October 2, 2022, welcomed fans who came to take a gander at their table, even selling the cod-carrying sign they made for their table.
Ahead of its final performance in February 2023, Broadway’s longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, offered a flurry of fans a wealth of costumes, hats and Il Muto programs directly from the Majestic Theatre stage.
Beetlejuice, which announced its year-end closing just days before the event, was bustling before the event’s official start time of 10 am. Fans eagerly formed a line to properly see what strange and unusual items the table had to offer, including exclusive reopening night beetle pins, finale costume sketches, prayer candles featuring Beetlejuice, skull-shaped shot glasses and even watercolor paintings by original cast member Kerry Butler. Beetlejuice himself, Alex Brightman, also stopped by to help boost donations.
The tables at this year’s Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised $482,640, led again by another record-breaking total for an individual table. The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM) raised $49,113, besting the record they set last year by more than $6,000.
Top 10 Tables
|The Music Man||$25,854|
|The Phantom of the Opera||$25,635|
|Kristin Chenoweth’s Kristin’s Kloset||$20,396|
|The Shubert Organization and Telecharge||$19,376|
The day concluded in the Times Square pedestrian plaza with the live auction, which raised an impressive $331,700.
The most popular live auction lots this year were ones that offered bidders a special, one-of-a-kind experience. The day’s top auction lot was a world-class trip to London to see three West End shows, generously sponsored by United Airlines and introduced by United’s Nick Depner, which went for $20,000.
Bidders were excited about celebrating The Phantom of the Opera, with two of the most popular lots going for $16,000 each:two VIP house se ats to attend the 35th anniversary performance plus an original front-of-house production sign; and an experience to sit in the orchestra pit and conduct the musical’s exit music.
Ten opening night packages were up for bid with the winners receiving two tickets to an opening night performance plus a signed opening night Playbill. Some Like It Hot’s upcoming musical adaptation garnered the top bid of $12,500. Following closely at $12,000 each were KPOP and Leopoldstadt.
The always-popular signed musical phrases were up for bidding at both the silent and live auctions. Top phrase this year raised $8,000, when a generous supporter took home a “Merrily We Roll Along” musical phrase from Merrily We Roll Along, handwritten and signed by Stephen Sondheim.
Special guests made surprise appearances, including Into the Woods’ Gavin Creel, who rallied the crowd to bid on a 20-minute virtual meeting with him, plus two VIP house seats to witness his performance in the show. Acclaimed illustrator and caricaturist Justin “Squigs” Robertson also encouraged bidders to raise their paddles for their own customized portrait designed by him.
This year’s live auction was led by auctioneer Nick Nicholson and host Christopher Sieber.
Broadway favorites Todd Buonopane and Stephanie Gibson joined forces to co-host the silent auction in Shubert Alley, which raised a record-breaking $229,485, blowing past the previous record of $183,579 set in 2021.
The top-selling silent auction lot was the monkey music box from The Phantom of the Opera, signed by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, which raised $12,000. Other popular lots were a Genie lamp prop used in Aladdin, signed by Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart and Michael James Scott for $10,000; a Kinky Boots poster signed by Tony winners Cyndi Lauper and Billy Porter, Tony nominee Stark Sands and the original Broadway cast for $10,000; an Elle Woods boot from Legally Blonde adorned with belts and charms used in the show and fabrics from Elle’s costume, signed by Laura Bell Bundy, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Michael Rupert and the original Broadway cast for $6,000; a Follies poster, signed by Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim for $6,000 and a Jafar lamp prop used onstage in Aladdin, signed by Jonathan Freeman and Dennis Stowe for $6,000.
In addition to the tables of theatrical treasures from Broadway shows and organizations lining West 44th and 45th Streets, special “Fleabay” bundles in Broadway Cares’ eBay store offered unique memorabilia for fans who were not able to attend in person. FleaBay raised $12,083.
The 36 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction have collectively raised $17.5 million. The previous all-time record was $1,023,309 set in 2017.