On Sunday, Times Square became a giant swap meet for theater queens as the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction took over the Great White Way and raised a record-setting $681,892 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The all-day event featured dozens of tables overflowing with theatrical memorabilia, rare mementos and unique Broadway treasures, while more than five dozen stars lined up at the autograph tables and photo booths, all stretched from Times Square to 46th Street, through Shubert Alley and along West 44th Street.
The live auction, hosted by John Bolton, raised a record $298,300 and included a once-in-a-lifetime VIP package to Barbra Streisand’s upcoming concert, including a backstage meet-and-greet with the star, that went for $40,000. (We’re dying!) Other high earners included tickets to the New York premiere of Les Misérables ($32,000), and a night at Evita, including a backstage meeting with Ricky Martin and a shirt he wore onstage ($11,000).
During an afternoon “flash auction,” Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original Annie, welcomed one lucky winner onstage as she sang her famous rendition of “Tomorrow” (in its original key). The high bidder donated $600 to Broadway Cares for the honor.
Actors who donated their time to meet with fans included Debra Monk from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Rob McClure from Chaplin; Patrick Page from Cyrano de Bergerac, Ari Graynor from The Performers, Bebe Neuwirth from Golden Age; Stephanie J. Block from The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Harvey Fierstein from Andrew Keenan-Bolger from Newsies, plus Charles Busch, Mario Cantone, Tyne Daly, Colman Domingo, Malcolm Gets, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Rebecca Luker, Jan Maxwell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Donna Murphy, Phyllis Newman, Bernadette Peters, Anthony Rapp, Alice Ripley, Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, and cast members from Once, Peter and the Starcatcher, Rebecca, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked and more.
Photos: Monica Simoes, Joy Nelson, Kevin Thomas Garcia, Stephen Sorokoff