Broadway's spring fundraising efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS culminates each year in the Easter Bonnet Competition. The 33rd annual celebration took place April 22 and 23 at the Minskoff Theatre, where it was announced during the second performance that between Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring productions, the theatre community raised a total of $6,594,778 through curtain call appeals over the course of six weeks.
The grand total was revealed following the Easter Bonnet presentations during which various production performed sketches and numbers parodying themselves and their fellow shows while presenting custom-designed (and often extravagant) bonnets.
As announced on stage by Bryan Cranston (Network), Kelli O'Hara (Kiss Me, Kate), Glenda Jackson (King Lear), and Jeff Daniels (To Kill a Mockingbird), this year's top fundraiser was the Hamilton - And Peggy tour, which raised $513,734. Lin-Manuel Miranda made a surprise appearance to accept the award.
Flip through photos of the celebration below:
The award for best presentation went to the cast of Off-Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof - in Yiddish. The award for best bonnet design went to Come From Away. Designed by Melissa Joy Crawford, the bonnet honored Gander, Newfoundland’s new-found status as a tourist attraction in the wake of Come From Away’s exceptional success.
The event, directed by Kathleen E. Purvis, featured an opening number by Billy Hipkins and choreographed by James Kinney, who also presented a piece he created for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of BC/EFA. Among the myriad performers this year was Karen Mason, who performed David Friedman's "Help Is on the Way," the longtime Easter Bonnet closing anthem.
BC/EFA has become one of the nation’s leading industry-based AIDS fundraising organizations, drawing upon the theatre industry and community to raise over $300 million since 1988. Funds go to men, women, and children around the country for treatments and medication, health care, counseling, emergency financial assistance, and more.