Broadway Gives Back

By Brittany Skyler Aubain -- It’s out with the old and in with the new because Broadway is finally back! On October 3, 2021, Broadway Cares hosted their 35th annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction. Theatre fans crowded the streets between 44th and 45th Streets and 8th Avenue to get their hands on Broadway merchandise that had been put on hold due to their two-year in-person hiatus.

The theatrical event included 36 tables filled with all types of collectible keepsakes such as signed playbills, signed cast posters from shows like Wicked, In The Heights and, Dear Evan Hansen. Event-goers also had the opportunity to purchase items used by the actors on stage, like Connor’s cast from Dear Evan Hansen (used by Ben Platt and Jordan Fisher) and a toaster used in Aladdin.

Some even showed up before the event’s 11:00 am opening to have the best chance of getting their hands on authentic Broadway costumes. Volunteers kept a close watch on racks filled with treasured costume pieces such as Glinda’s shoes from Wicked, cast jackets from Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical, and fabric from The Lion King.

Performers, producers, and fans rummaged through cardboard boxes filled to the brim with signed playbills, where some were extremely valuable.

In particular, the table filled with Mean Girls: The Musical memorabilia included six different types of playbills. There were playbills from the show’s first few months, special edition Pride month, and Christmas, but the most valuable playbills were the ones from March 2020. Actress and singer Sabrina Carpenter was stunt cast as the lead, Cady Heron. Unfortunately, due to the COVID shutdown, Carpenter could not even get through an entire week’s eight-show run, making the playbills with her signature scarce.

Of course, these event-goers would not be true theatre and film fans if they didn’t mention that there was not a day more appropriate to sell Mean Girls merchandise than on October 3rd. While most attendees stuck to the budget-friendly merchandise, the heavy hitters participated in the record-breaking silent auction, which raised $183,579. Todd Buonopane and Jennifer Cody hosted the auction in Shubert Alley, which took place every half-hour. Bidders were vying for treasures like a Funny Girl playbill signed by Barbra Streisand, a typewriter used by Tom Hanks, boots worn by Keanu Reeves, and an autograph book signed by legends like Albert Einstein and Lucille Ball.

The night concluded with a live auction held in the middle of Times Square, hosted by Dear Evan Hansen alums Will Roland and Sky Lakota-Lynch. At this auction, bidders cleaned out their wallets to win prizes like Jules Fisher’s Tony Nomination certificate ($16,200) and a virtual meet-and-greet with Patty Lupone ($15,000). The live auction raised a whopping $288,050.

Overall, the day-long excursion raised an astonishing $753,321, which will be donated to Broadway Cares, a non-profit organization that raises AIDS awareness. After a long, eventful day, theatre fans went home with a happy heart, knowing that they made a difference in exchange for some new Broadway memorabilia.

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