On Monday, March 18th, 2013, the historic Palace Theatre on Broadway hosted Broadway Backwards the once-a-year celebration that benefits Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. The sold out show broke records as the program raised $347,060.
This was the eighth annual edition of Broadway Backwards. The live orchestra and the 80 – person cast performed many great songs from the musical theatre…but with a twist: women sang songs originally written for men and men sang songs written for women. The night was filled with wonderful singing, dancing, and respect for all.
Do you remember when Clay Aiken was one of many outstanding stars that performed at Broadway Backwards 6. Held at the Longacre Theatre on 48th street, the show was held on February 7, 2011.
The obvious highlight for this Clay Aiken fan was seeing Clay shine on the Broadway stage as he performed “Home” from The Wiz. He started quietly and slowly built to a powerful climax. He sang from his heart and the audience was moved by his outstanding performance. As the applause continued, Clay returned to the stage for a second bow. Appropriately, Clay seemed right at “Home” on the Broadway stage.
Clay has been an active supporter of Broadway Care/EFA. When he was starring in Spamalot, Clay helped raise a great deal of money for the organization. He was a loud cheerleader in working with the cast of Spamalot to earn the most money for the Easter Bonnet competition. He spent time most of the nights of the campaign, taking pictures with fans and encouraging the rest of the staff to participate too. His Sir Robin Bear received the highest bids two years in a row and he helped at the Easter Bonnet presentation by singing with Hannah Waddingham.
Many of Clay’s fans appreciate Clay’s support of the charity, but many don’t really know the scope of Broadway Cares/EFA. It is an amazing organization that helps so many people every year.
The Council of Actors’ Equity Association founded Equity Fights AIDS in 1987. Their money was raised through the efforts of Equity theatre companies across the country. It was specifically earmarked for The Actors’ Fund’s AIDS Initiative.
Members of The Producers’ Group founded Broadway Cares in 1988. The money raised by this organization was earmarked to be awarded to AIDS service organizations across the country, including Equity Fights AIDS.
In May, of 1992, Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares merged to become Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This newly established not-for-profit fundraising organization assumed the missions of both organizations and continues to fund the social service work of The Actors’ Fund and to award grants twice a year to AIDS service organizations nationwide.
In 2012, Broadway Cares/EFA funded $10, 856,755.00 in grants. Some of the organizations that they support are:
- Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative
- The HIV/AIDS Initiative
- Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic
- Food Service and Meal Delivery Programs in 34 states
More than 400 AIDS and family service organizations are funded by BC/EFA. They help hundreds of thousands who face the uncertainly of their short and long term challenges.
One of the unique things about BC/EFA is the wonderful fundraisers that they have through out the year. I am sure you have heard of some of them, but the talented people who participate in these events make it hard to not get involved in the event. The following events are some of the many fundraising events that are held yearly by BC/EFA:
- Broadway Backwards
- ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares
- Easter Bonnet Competition
- Broadway Bares
- Flea Market & Grand Auction September
- Fire Island Dance Festival
- Gypsy of the Year Competition
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. With all of our help, what they do can make a difference.