The spirit and generosity of the theatre community once again shined as brightly as the autumn sun as the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction blew past all previous record totals to raise a spectacular $681,892 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The all-day event on Sunday, September 23, featured 59 tables overflowing with theatrical memorabilia, rare mementos and unique Broadway treasures, more than five dozen stars at the Celebrity Autograph Table & Photo Booth and 207 Grand Auction lots up for bid in live and silent auctions. This year's event stretched across Times Square to 46th Street, through Shubert Alley and along West 44th Street.
The 26 editions of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, have raised a grand total of $9,870,369. The inaugural edition of the event in 1987 raised $12,000. This year's total was up $137,384 over 2011's total of $547,658. The previous record total for the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was $574,000 set in 2000.
The record-setting year was propelled by the immensely popular live auction, which ended the beautifully crisp day with heated bidding wars, all in support of a good cause. The live auction raised $298,300 – the most ever, eclipsing last year's live auction total of $201,500 and sliding past the previous record of $294,250 set in 1996.
"I am always struck by the extraordinary enthusiasm from hundreds in the theater community, scores of volunteers and truly thousands of theatre lovers and fans whose great generosity of spirit make the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction such an incredible success," said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. "It’s worth remembering that this fabulous and uniquely Broadway event ultimately is about one thing: helping people in crisis and need. The money raised Sunday will help ensure that more will have access to health care, medications, and support services. It reaches individuals and entire families in need of a nutritious meal and a safe place to call home. Whether you left with an autographed show poster or a one-of-a-kind auction experience, the resources you give so generously will lift up folks much less fortunate for a long time to come. And on their behalf especially, many thanks!"
This year, the 59 tables of the Broadway Flea Market collectively raised $286,087 and represented Broadway's top shows, several off-Broadway shows and many organizations within the theatrical community. The top 10 tables raising the most money this year were: Wicked with $17,245; United Scenic Artists Local 829 with $17,112; Newsies with $15,000; Broadway Beat/Reel Time Video Production with $13,561; TDF with $12,806; The Phantom of the Opera with $9,945; The Araca Group with $9,814; Broadway Impact with $7,888; Creative Goods Merchandise with $7,851, and Max Merchandising with $7,725.
The Grand Auction included both live and silent auctions. The top-selling lot of the day was a once-in-a-lifetime VIP package to Barbra Streisand's upcoming concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, including a backstage meet-and-greet with the extraordinary superstar. The package raised an astonishing $40,000 from two bidders.
Tickets to the New York movie premiere of the much-anticipated Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Aaron Tveit, including passes to the opening night party, raised an equally astounding $32,000.
Other top live auction items:
· An evening at the blockbuster revival of Evita, including a backstage meeting with star Ricky Martin and a shirt he wore onstage and autographed, raised $11,000.
· A day at The Phantom of the Opera, including an appearance in the show's opening number, raised $10,800.
· A one-on-one office meeting with iconic theatre producer/director Hal Prince, who's been at the helm of more than 50 Broadway shows and won 21 Tony Awards, raised $10,000 from two bidders.
· A VIP experience at Once, this year's Tony Award-winning Best Musical, raised $8,500.
· A private lunch with stage-and-screen legend Angela Lansbury raised $8,000.
· Opening night performance and party tickets for 16 upcoming Broadway shows collectively raised $45,700, including $5,200 for Kinky Boots, $5,000 for Annie, $3,500 for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella; $3,000 for Matilda and $2,600 for The Performers.
· Walk-on roles in Chicago, Disney's The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Rock of Ages, and The Phantom of the Opera collectively raised $39,600.