Since 1998, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids has hosted the Broadway Bears Auction.
Each year, the North American Bear Company donates approximately 40 dark green, naked bears to BC/EFA. They are then given to the talented Broadway designers who spend countless hours creating detailed costumes that represent their Broadway production.
In 14 years, over 500 handmade Broadway Bears have raised more than $1.6 million for Broadway Cares.
I was introduced to this great event when Clay Aiken was on Broadway in Spamalot. In 2008, Clay Aiken and David Hyde Pierce signed the Spamalot Bear, named Sir Robin. It sold for $17,000.
In 2009, Spamalot came in first again when Sir Robin, signed by Clay, sold for $16,000.
Spamalot went all out in 2009 when they designed and created the Sir Robin Bear. Since “musical theatre” is Sir Robin’s Grail, it was fitting that the bear is dressed to be a song-and-dance man. The detail in the costume of this bear is amazing. The teal-lined jacket is an Italian wool-gabardine and the lapels are hand-beaded with 375 peridot, green and silver beads. HandmadeSwarovski-crystal and rhinestone buttons decorate the jacket front and sleeves.
The amazing checkerboard pattern of the vest was created with 1,076 beads and 80 Swarovski crystals. The artist was particularly careful with the shoes that are silver and white. They are also decorated with Swarovski crystals. More than 30 hours of work and love went into hand-beading the more than 1500 beads and crystals.
Both wins by Spamalot received some great publicity for both Clay and the show. I found an article for both years that I thought were fun to read. I hope you enjoy them.
Broadway Bears Raises $127,000 for BC/EFA; Spamalot Bear Is King
By Andrew Gans
19 Feb 2008
The Spamalot bear — signed by Clay Aiken and David Hyde Pierce — raised the most money at the annual Broadway Bears fundraiser, which was held Feb. 17 at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on West 42nd Street.
The Spamalot bear brought in $17,000 for the annual event, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Bears XI — hosted by Bryan Batt — earned a total of $127,000 for the charitable organization.
Other top money-makers were the Lion King Pumba bear ($9,000), the Cyrano de Bergerac bear ($8,000), The Little Mermaid bear ($5,000) and the Wicked bear ($5,000).
The yearly event features a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters, many autographed by the original stars who wore the original (human-sized) outfits. Lorna Kelly was the evening’s auctioneer.
Since its inception in 1998, Broadway Bears has raised over $1.5 million dollars for BC/EFA. Last year’s fundraiser raised $130,878.
Gavin Lee, Linda Balgord, Stephanie J. Bloch, Sebastian Arcelus, Jose Llana, Sarah Gettelfinger, Bill Ryall, Peter Gregus, Jennifer Smith, Christine Pedi and John Tracy Egan were among the Broadway stars who lent their support to the evening.
This year’s bears were dressed as characters from Curtains, The Drowsy Chaperone, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Spring Awakening, Xanadu, Young Frankenstein, Cats, Gypsy, The Music Man, Nine, Peter Pan, Sunday in the Park with George, Titanic and West Side Story.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Broadway Bears Raises Over $150,000 for BC/EFA; Spamalot Bear Is King
From Playbill News
For the second consecutive year, the Spamalot bear — signed by former “American Idol” finalist and Spamalot star Clay Aiken — raised the most money at the annual Broadway Bears fundraiser, which was held Feb. 15 at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on West 42nd Street.
The Spamalot bear brought in $16,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Bears XII — hosted by Bryan Batt — earned a total of $152,116 for the charitable organization.
Other top money-makers were Alan Strang with Nugget from Equus ($10,000), Glinda from Wicked ($7,000) and Growltiger from Cats ($5,500). Lorna Kelly was the evening’s auctioneer.
The yearly event features a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters, many autographed by the original stars who wore the original (human-sized) outfits. Among the bears that were auctioned this year included Sir Thomas More from A Man for All Seasons, Be Our Guest Eggbeater from Beauty and the Beast, Gabriella from Boeing-Boeing, Growltiger from Cats, Nugget with Alan Strang from Equus, Mama Rose “Some People” from Gypsy, Mama Rose “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy, Mimi Marquez from Rent, Sir Robin from Spamalot, Wendla from Spring Awakening, Glinda from Wicked and Elizabeth from Young Frankenstein.
Last year’s auction, also hosted by Batt, brought in $127,000 for the charitable organization. The Spamalot bear — signed by Clay Aiken and David Hyde Pierce — was the top-selling bear, bringing in $17,000.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grants making organization. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes and other critical illnesses across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $150 million dollars for critically needed services for people with AIDS and other serious illnesses.
How cute are those bears? What a fun way to earn money for BC/EFA. I would love to have been able to get Clay's bear. 🙂
musicfan123 – Wow, I did not realize that the 2009 Spamalot Sir Robin was so ornate. Would loved to have seen it in person. Especially since it has those peridot beads (our birthstone) and also the Swarovski crystals attached to it. That is one expensively dressed bear. Great that Clay's signature helped to get it and also the 2008 bear sold at those extraordinarily high prices. Both Clay and the bears are very special winners. It's so nice that the BC/EFA organization received those much needed contributions for their cause.
Thanks for the information. Always very interesting indeed.
Wow..think about that $33,000 for 2 bears..2008 & 2009 amazing…. That's a ton of money brought in for the BC/EFA.. I remember lots of money being raised as well having your picture with Clay on Stage…don't know the amount, but it must have been quite a bit. I bet Broadway loved it when Clay was there…. I'm hoping he will return soon….. Great cause!!!
Those Broadway Bears are really something else. I am so glad they went for so much…as it all went for a very worthy cause…BC/EFA. I hope Clay will be returning to Broadway again.
I would love to have the Spamalot Bear……however, it is certainly not in my budget.
Clay has raised a lot of money for charity. He seems to pick important ones to concentrate on.
Thanks for all the info on the Bears!!
Your article shows that if you want to raise a lot of money, throw Clay Aiken into the mix. 🙂
I ♥ those bears!!!!!!