Every year thousands of Broadway fans crowd around the tables at the Broadway Flea Market, searching for the perfect bits of theatre memorabilia to add to their collections. Some hunt for Playbills from their favorite shows or ones from early appearances of their now-favorite stars. Some will take home props or costume pieces that were used on stage in a Broadway show. And some may even find bits of the actual Broadway theatres, like crystals from lobby chandeliers or bits of stone and brick from recent renovations.
This year the annual event benefitting Broadway Cares raised a record-breaking $1,237,179 from its many Flea Market tables lining 44th and 45th Streets between 8th and 9th Avenues and the Grand Auction held in Shubert Alley.
Several Playbill staffers were among the throngs of fans at the October 1 event and each came home with a sack full of new prized possessions. Take a look below at some of our favorite flea market finds this year.
Margaret Hall, Staff Writer
The Broadway Flea Market is one of my favorite community events, and I have not missed it since 2016. These days, most of my time is spent browsing tables and helping others locate items, but this year a handful of my friends came together to point me in the direction of several finds that felt perfectly tailored to my special interests. As a mega fan of vampire musicals, this mint condition opening night window card from Dance of the Vampires, signed by Michael Crawford, is a treasure, as is the program from Lestat. I also brought home a mug and a tee from my favorite show last season, Almost Famous, and a complete CD set from the 2004 Broadway production of Assassins, which was the cornerstone production of my Masters thesis. I even picked up a rare mug from the final Prince and Sondheim collaboration, Bounce, for a dear friend. You never know what you're going to find at the flea!
Meg Masseron, Staff Writer
This year marks my fifth Broadway Flea, and each year I've made it my mission to take home not only any Phantom of the Opera merchandise just to wear and enjoy for myself (like the adorable mask beanie), but also props, costumes, programs, and other relics to build my own little museum of Phantom history. With the show's recent closure, I knew there would be some special treasures, but I never expected to walk out with the closing night program! I also got "Masquerade" boots worn by Lisa Vroman (one of the longest-running Christines in the world!) and John Cudia's name slot for the call board—another little piece of history.
Talaura Harms, Features Editor
Like Meg, with the recent closing of The Phantom of the Opera, I was hoping for something fun from the Majestic, and I was not disappointed. The United Scenic Artists Local 829 table had two large stacks of costume fabric swatches pinned/glued to paper. I was able to grab three selections before they sold out: Fish, Toy Soldier, and Tweedle Dum, all costumes from "Masquerade." I snagged a window card from New York Theatre Workshop's pre-Broadway run of Hadestown that will go great with my Hamilton window card I scored from the Public table a few years ago. Entertainment Community Fund had boxes of Playbills, books, and programs—I got the Song and Dance program with a super cute Bernadette centerfold and three fave film programs. I always grab pins when I see them, and this year it was fun to get a show pin from Water for Elephants before the musical even premieres on Broadway. And I always stop at the Lights of Broadway Show Cards table for a set of Squigs' exclusive Flea set of illustrated trading cards.
Meredith Ammons, Social Media Coordinator
It has always been a dream to attend Broadway Flea! This is my first time going since moving to New York just two months ago. I was able to find so many items from my favorite shows, including a Hedwig and the Angry Inch Playbill from John Cameron Mitchell's run. My favorite finds of the day were a Rent anniversary tour candle and a flower handmade by Reeve Carney on stage in Hadestown.
Lastly, one Playbill staffer showed up in the office Monday with a black-and-white press photo from the 2007 Encores! production of Follies, featuring a trio of (now) two-time Tony winners. The glossy is already signed Victoria Clark, who played Sally Durant in the staging, so consider this a call to Donna Murphy (who played Phyllis) and Christine Baranski (Carlotta) to drop by any time and add their autographs!