Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has announced that the 2023 spring red bucket fundraising campaign and Easter Bonnet Competition raised a total of $3,601,355. The funds will go toward meals, medication and healthcare to those battling HIV/AIDS, long COVID-19 and other illnesses. The 34th annual presentation returned on April 24 and 25, following a four-year pandemic-induced hiatus.
Traditionally, the Easter Bonnet ceremony includes songs, skits and a fashion show of hand-crafted Easter bonnets inspired by productions that participate in Broadway Cares’ six-week spring fundraising season.
Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban of “Sweeney Todd,” Jessica Chastain of “A Doll’s House” and Lea Michele of “Funny Girl” were on hand at the April 25 performance to announce the grand total, top fundraisers and winning bonnet design.
The award for Best Presentation went to the cast of “The Lion King” for a performance by cast members India Bolds-Browne and Malcolm Miles Young that featured movement by fellow castmate Ray Mercer, set to the spoken word poetry of Shanessa Sweeney. “Chicago” won Best Bonnet Design and “& Juliet” was announced as the top fundraiser of any production on Broadway, Off-Broadway and national tour with a total of $231,536.
“To see this level of excitement from old friends at long-running productions and new friends from this season’s smash hits reminds us all of the joy we share when everyone comes together in community,” Broadway Cares executive director Tom Viola said in a statement. “Every year we marvel at this beautiful ecosystem keeping performers insured, healthy and treated with dignity and respect in times of crisis while also providing vital social services for those most in need across the country.”
“We couldn’t have revived and renewed a tradition like Easter Bonnet Competition without the dedication of our 207 Bucket Brigade volunteers and everyone onstage, backstage and behind the scenes who eagerly participated,” he continued. “We are so grateful to be back.”
Since the Easter Bonnet Competition began in 1987, the spring fundraising efforts have raised more than $95 million for Broadway Cares.