The award for outstanding bonnet design went to the Broadway company of Mamma Mia!
for a hat consisting of a giant lavender blossom opening on an earthlike blue globe brightened by sparkling LED lights.
But the company of The Lion King took the top prize for bonnet presentation, with a performance called “Hallelujah Harlem,” featuring members of the Broadway cast tapping and singing gospel in period clothes in an evocation of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance era. Church women in big hats combined the hats to make a bonnet resembling the marquee of Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theatre.
A month earlier, the 15th and grand finale edition of The Broadway Bears, the annual auction of handmade, one-of-a-kind, theatrically costumed teddy bears, raised a record-setting $198,300 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Broadway lovers and teddy bear collectors came together on Sunday, March 18, for one last time to bid on and bid adieu to museum-quality bears representing legendary theatrical characters and autographed by the stars who made those characters famous.
This years collection of bears included “red carpet” bears from such shows as:
Billy Elliot: The Musical, signed by Elton and Gregory Jbara; The Lion King, signed by Julie Taymor; The Producers, bearing (pun intended) the autograph of Mel Brooks, and Beauty and the Beast, featuring Alan Menken‘s John Hancock.
”The Lion King” Simba bear was one of the most popular items, going for $18,000.
The cumulative fundraising total for the 15 editions of Broadway Bears auctions adds up to a remarkable $2,048,427.
“What started as a one-time event with 20 bears in 1997 turned into a remarkable run of auctioning 643 bears raising more than $2 million,” said Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. “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 is the hallmark of all of Broadway.”