Last week, lovers of Broadway and bears (the stuffed variety) filled B.B. King Blues Club, where Broadway Cares/Equality Fights AIDS raised a record $198,300 at the 15th and final edition of Broadway Bears, the annual auction of theatrically inspired teddy bears.
What started as a one-time event in 1998 with only 20 bears has, in its 15 editions, raised a staggering $2 million for Broadway Cares’ programs. But these aren’t your normal children’s toys, Broadway Cares executive director Tom Viola explains:
“Led by BC/EFA producer Scott T. Stevens, an extraordinarily talented team of Broadway designers, costume shops, and wardrobe personnel designed, costumed, draped, dressed and frocked, painted, outfitted, stuffed and lipoed, shod and hatted, feathered, tattooed and armored, bedecked and bedazzled these furry masterpieces, giving of their time, energies and amazing talent over 15 years to create this unique and delightful fundraising event.
The Broadway Bears truly reflects the creative vision, sheer artistry and technical skill that are the hallmark of all of Broadway.”
Once again, the event was hosted by Broadway and television star Bryan Batt (Mad Men, Jeffrey) with the delightful Lorna Kelly reprising her role as auctioneer. Several other Broadway stars dropped by to lend their support to the event, including Faith Dane, Harvey Evans, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Jeremy Jordan, Ilene Kristen, Norm Lewis, Andrea McArdle, Michele McConnell, Patrick Page, Justin Matthew Sargent and Jennifer Smith.
Click through for more photos from Broadway Bears!
Photos courtesy of Peter James Zielinski/Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.