this week i had the pleasure of attending broadway cares/equity fights aids 25th annual easter bonnet competition. my dear friend mario was dancing again this year with his group r.evolucion latina, so naturally i had to show up to lend my support as well as see the other fantastic presentations by various broadway shows. if you attend a broadway show at this time of year, many times at the end of the show the cast makes an announcement that they are collecting money for broadway cares/equity fights aids. bc/efa is a non-profit organization that “funds social service work of the actors fund and awards grants three times a year to aids service organizations nationwide”. the easter bonnet competition is when it is revealed how much money each show raised for the charity during the spring fundraising season. shows chose to make a “bonnet” and present it in a creative fashion.
easter bonnet is known for being hilarious and irreverent. this year the cast of “the lion king” did a comedic homage to ru pauls drag race with the “contestants” doing drag inspired by various broadway shows. jen cody as little sally and don richard as officer lockstock from urinetown made an appearance to thoroughly grill broadway. no one was safe as they ripped on this season’s broadway flops such as women on the verge of a nervous breakdown and made scathing jokes about chorus girls who are too old being cast in chicago. of course the afternoon wouldn’t have been complete without its fair share of spiderman jokes as little sally dropped a spiderman doll into the orchestra pit.
the afternoon also had its fair share of touching moments. they did a tribute to former ziegfielfd follies girl, doris eaton travis, who was a regular part of the bonnet celebration for the past 12 years. she passed away 2 weeks after last years celebrtion at the age of 106. what i felt was perhaps the most touching presentation was the cast of “la cage aux folles.”. the current cast of cagelles sang “we are what we are” while pausing to say the names of cast members from the previous broadway production who died of complications of aids and hiv. they concluded their presentation with a remake of the bonnet the original broadway cast first presented several years ago while members of the original broadway cast and past revival sang “the best of times” with the current cast. they won the award for best bonnet presentation.
the show closed with broadway starlet kerry butler singing the easter bonnet anthem “help is on the way.” the grand total raised from all the shows was $3,706,085! not too shabby at all! it’s so inspiring to see people within the theatre community joining together for such a great cause and it makes me proud to know my union stands behind this cause. visit www.broadwaycares.com to find out more about the work of broadway cares/equity fights aids.