It’s going to be a very cuddly Valentine’s Day for those attending “Broadway Bears VIII” today at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in the theater district. The annual event, which serves as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), features a myriad of teddy bears which have been fashioned and costumed to resemble characters from Broadway shows. Most of the bears that will be up for auction at the event represent current or recent Broadway shows, such as 9 to 5, 33 Variations, A Little Night Music, A Steady Rain, Billy Elliot, Exit the King, Hair, Liza’s at the Palace, Rock of Ages, and Wishful Drinking. But there are also bears representing older Broadway shows, such as M. Butterfly and Victor/Victoria. Most bears are actually autographed by the original person who played their character, and many also feature autographs from other people involved with the show as well. Tickets for “Broadway Bears”, which is hosted by John Bolton (Spamalot) and Sotheby’s auctioneer Lorna Kelly (and featuring a musical performance by Felicia Finley), are $35 or $150 for VIP tickets. If you want to bid on a bear, though, prepare to fork over a lot more cash. Last year’s top bear, a Spamalot bear signed by Clay Aiken, went for $16,000.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and The Broadway League have both pledged $100,000.00 to disaster relief in Haiti following the country’s recent devastating earthquake. The Shubert Organization and Disney have also announced that they will be making contributions, and there are several other fundraising initiatives in the works from members of the Broadway community working to collect funds for Haiti.
It’s the next best thing to Broadway porn: Broadway Bares, the popular annual fundraiser in which Broadway performers get down to their skivvies in order to earn money for Broadway Cares, is getting its own companion coffee table book featuring racy photos and a history of the event. Written by Broadway Bares‘ creator, director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Backstage Pass: Broadway Bares will be released on June 1.