- New York Columnist
The 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction was the ultimate treasure trove of unique artifacts for Broadway fans. According to the BC/EFA website, the organization raised a record $782,081 on Sunday, September 25.
The Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction started out as an event where performers sold items from their dressing rooms to raise funds for friends living with AIDS. The cast of Something Rotten! decorated ornaments just for the occasion for the second consecutive year. Some were modeled after the show’s characters and others were decorated with thread from costumes. These were amongst the most popular items at the Something Rotten! table and consequently the first ones to sell out.
In a historic decision to stray from its custom to remain nonpartisan, the Actors’ Equity Association voted to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. There was no shortage of Hillary Clinton merchandise from T-shirts to buttons. The BC/EFA Flea Market served as a call to action for those who have not rallied with the Broadway community during this critical time in history.
This is a BC/EFA Flea Market staple! Fans lined up at the Shubert Alley to meet their favorite Broadway stars from the early Sunday hours. Artists included: Tony winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Hamilton’s Lexi Lawson, Tony nominees Danny Burstein and Marin Mazzie, and Tony winner Kelli O’ Hara.
BC/EFA Selfie Stage:
The Selfie Stage on 45th St. and 8th Ave. increased social media engagement between patrons and Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids. They were encouraged to snap pictures with the BC/EFA frame featuring #BroadwayFlea. This hashtag was the common thread between users who wished to share this free photo souvenir and other moments from their experience online.
Fans have made the event a success for the past 30 years. It was fascinating to see how many people devote to a show and are constantly searching for memorabilia for their growing collections. The Broadway love fest went beyond 44th and 45th streets west of Times Square. The T-shirts or accessories from specific productions gave away fans coming or going to the festivities. The fundraiser is a longstanding tradition for many Broadway fans that specifically reunite at the event.
Theater Related Organizations:
The Broadway community is known for its generous spirit. Stage managers (Stage Managers Association), casting professionals (Casting Society of America), and Broadway performers promoted their organizations in the bustling streets. Luis Salgado from On Your Feet and In the Heights founded R. Evolución Latina to empower New York’s Latino community through the arts. R. Evolución Latina has broadened its efforts to Peru, Panama, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, and India with the support of BC/EFA.
Dear Evan Hansen garnered new followers as theater aficionados browsed through memorabilia from the show’s DC and NY runs. Cast members chatted with spectators about what they can expect from the show and shared stories behind the items they were about to sell.
Unexpected Celebrity Sightings:
In the midst of all the frenzy, it’s always fun to spot a Broadway celebrity. Most of them were headed to their respective theaters or leaving the area after their Sunday matinées. Some of the artists included Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart and director Michael Greif who kindly posed for pictures when asked.
Miniature pies like those sold at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre were to be expected at the Waitress table. However, Jessie Mueller and company were not the only ones serving sweet treats. Over on 45th street the company of The Lion King hosted its 6th annual BC/EFA Bake Sale. Theater enthusiasts indulged on homemade cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and their famous “Kitty Crack.” Kitty Cracks are morsels of milk chocolate fudge with caramel, nuts, and coconut.
The debate of whether to bid on things or experiences was at an all time high. The BC/EFA social media team ensured auctions ran smoothly by tweeting which items were about to be auctioned. Rare collectibles from She Loves Me, Cats, and South Pacific, etc. were auctioned throughout the day. Other items included a ticket to the opening night of Hello, Dolly! and a walk-in role in Kinky Boots.