Broadway Flea Market Fights AIDS

This past Sunday, Shubert Alley hosted a very special fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Armed with autographs, show memorabilia, and the usual flea market ‘bric √É° brac,’ Broadway and Off-Broadway stars and crew showed their support for AIDS research. One of the many fundraisers sponsored by BC/EFA, the flea market has not only brought the audience up close with their favorite stars, it has also raised millions of dollars since its inception 19 years ago.

BC/EFA was created in May of 1992 when Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS combined theirs efforts to support AIDS research and education. The non-profit organization lends a helping hand to performers suffering from AIDS, HIV and HIV linked difficulties. It also awards grants to AIDS groups throughout the country. The Actor’s Fund, which is a part of the BC/EFA organization, has promoted AIDS awareness through facilities such as the Al Hirschfield Free Health Clinic, and services like Physician Volunteers For The Arts and Affordable Housing Initiative. BC/EFA thrives on the generosity of donations alone, and they count on fun and silly ways to lure Broadway goers in. Events like Broadway Bares may be a show best left for the adult patrons who like their singing done in barely-there costumes. The entirely different Broadway Bears auctions feature teddy bears dressed as favorite show characters. BC/EFA handles the AIDS crisis with laughter where there have been too many tears.

Some stars manned tables and tried to peddle their goods while others chatted with fans while posing for pictures and autographs. Each show tried to out do the rest, in the name of fun and fundraising. The cast of “Wicked” offered a handmade dollhouse signed by each actor, autographed hairspray bottles were at the Hairspray table, and Beauty and the Beast offered “Beauty’s Feast,” enticing the crowd with home made goodies. Special discounts were offered on all show items, CD’s and DVD’s, while the more refined collectors could splurge at the silent and grand auctions for serious showpiece items like props, costumes and limited edition show art.

Some prizes however, like photos taken with the cast or an appearance on stage during a performance (even your name in the playbill!), were priceless. I walked away with some autographs and show props, but the greatest find of the day was a way to give back to the dedicated performers and their worthy cause. To learn more about BC/EFA events and causes, visit http://www.broadwaycares.org/.