After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the annual Easter Bonnet Competition will return to raise funds for Broadway Cares. The 34th annual competition will be held April 24 at 4:30 PM and April 25 at 2 PM at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre, currently home to Disney's The Lion King.
During the fundraiser, performers from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national touring companies will share original songs and skits, as well as their unique bonnet designs, marking the end of six weeks of fundraising efforts.
The fundraising actually begins March 10 when several theatre lobbies will once again feature Broadway Cares' #Red Buckets. In exchange for a donation, audiences at many shows can receive autographed posters, Playbills, and other memorabilia as well as unique experiences. The fundraising will continue through April 23.
Broadway shows scheduled to begin their appeals this weekend are & Juliet; A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical; The Book of Mormon; Kimberly Akimbo; The Lion King; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; and Six. Off-Broadway shows starting March 10 are Little Shop of Horrors and The Play That Goes Wrong. Set to join in the fundraising next week are Broadway’s Aladdin, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Phantom of the Opera, Some Like It Hot, and Wicked. Several national tours will join in the fundraising, making appeals from the stage and encouraging donations through QR codes and online giving.
“We are thrilled that the essential and beloved tradition of Red Bucket fundraising returns to theatres once again,” says Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. “The generosity and enthusiasm from participating productions translate into heartfelt donations from audience members, which ultimately benefit people in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico who are facing life-threatening health challenges and personal crises. It’s an incredible, collaborative effort to see take shape and a beautiful reminder that spring has arrived.”
The two-day Easter Bonnet Competition marks the conclusion of the spring fundraising. At the event, awards will be presented to the best presentation and best bonnet design across both performances and to the top fundraisers from the preceding six weeks. This year’s special guests and celebrity judges will be announced later. Tickets for the event will go on sale March 15 by visiting BroadwayCares.org/easterbonnet.
Donations raised through the competition will be put to action through Broadway Cares’ National Grants Program, providing meals, health care, and hope for those facing illness, personal challenges, and crises.
Broadway Cares is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other critical illnesses across the United States.