Broadway lovers and teddy bear collectors came together on Sunday, February 23 at the BROADWAY BEARS VIII auction, which raised a grand total of $116, 817! The event was hosted by Bryan Batt, with Lorna Kelly reprising her role as auctioneer. Over forty specially made BROADWAY BEARS - each dressed in original, handmade costumes representing the theater's most legendary characters - were auctioned to the highest bidder in support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Last year's BROADWAY BEARS raised $127,210.
Some of this year's top bids for bears were the $6,000 WICKED Glinda bear, complete with Swarovski crystal tiara, and the $4,000 Bombay Dreams Rani bear, whose braid was created from the character's Broadway wig, and whose belly button jewelry and costume were imported from the wardrobe of the London production.
The evening also featured some of Broadways biggest names including Mary Bond Davis, who introduced the bear modeled on Gregory Hines' character from JELLY'S LAST JAM with a touching tribute the late song-and-dance legend. As an added bonus, the winning bidder received a custom-designed opening night pin, cast recording, window card and framed, autographed photo of Gregory Hines himself.
Dame Edna posed for photos with her namesake bear; the two were attired to match from their metallic gold leather pumps to their off-shoulder ruby gowns. Delta Burke, who will star in the upcoming STEEL MAGNOLIAS, introduced the bear from THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, and special guest Doris Eaton Travis, an original cast member of the ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1919 (who will turn 101 next month!), presented the showgirl bear from that show. The bidding for the bear got even more intense when a photo op with Ms. Travis was added to the package!
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fund raising and grant making organization. BC/EFA is the on-going, committed response from the American theater community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of this community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since it's founding in 1988, BC/EFA has distributed over $85 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses.
The Broadway Bears VIII is sponsored by
Target Stores and Continental Airlines, the official airline of BC/EFA,
with the support of The New York Times, and North American Bear Co., Inc.
For more information, please visit the BC/EFA website at