After an annual six-week fundraising sprint, the 17th annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition ended Tues., April 22 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, with $2,149,744 being raised for the charity. The figure was over $300,000 more than last year's total, but shy of the record $2,275,659 raised in 2001.
As always, honors go to productions raising the most money for BC/EFA as well as for the most outstanding Easter Bonnet. This year, with Antonio Banderas, Chita Rivera, and Harvey Fierstein on hand to present various awards, the musical "Hairspray" led the fundraising race, bringing in $191,000. The runners-up were "Thoroughly Modern Millie" ($122,200); "Mamma Mia!" ($117,800); "Les Misérables" ($87,700); and "Man of La Mancha" and "La Bohème" ($81,500 each).
Special awards were also handed out to the top-raising Broadway play ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," $77,300), Off-Broadway company ("Zanna, Don't!," $20,000), and touring company ("Mamma Mia!," $128,800).
In the race for best bonnet, this year's winner was "La Bohème," with various cast members delivering "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" with Italian subtitles. The runners-up were "42nd Street" and "Mamma Mia!" In addition, Chris March, who created the bonnet representing "The Producers," was given a special prize from the judges, who included Gregg Barnes, Kathleen Chalfant, Jenn Colella, Neal Garelik, Linda Hart, Jane Powell, and Paul Stevens.
Finally, as in previous years, the oldest living Ziegfeld Follies girl, 99-year-old Doris Eaton Travis, made quite a go of her gams in her jaunty annual appearance.