BROADWAY RECALL: Treasure Hunting at The Broadway Flea Market

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Welcome to BROADWAY RECALL, a bi-monthly column where BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic, Michael Dale, delves into the archives and explores the stories behind the well-known and the not so well-known videos and photographs of Broadway's past. Look for BROADWAY RECALL every other Saturday.

Next to front row seats for the newest smash hit, few things get theatre fans excited like the Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Shubert Alley and 44th Street get closed off for the day so fans (and stars) can rummage through goodies like old classic Playbills, theatre books and recordings, souvenirs, Broadway props and costumes, show cards and opening night gifts.  One-of-a-kind items like a meet and greet with a theatre legend, an autographed work of Broadway art and even walk-on parts in hit musicals can be won at the Grand Auction.

The 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Auction is this Sunday, September 23rd, but let’s take a look at some of the treasures offered in past years.

In 2008, the items up for bid in the Grand Auction included James Earl Jones’ Big Daddy slippers, Whoopi Goldberg’s Xanadu roller skates and autographed front of house photos from Rent.

A threat of bad weather moved the Flea Market indoors to Roseland in 2009.  In this video Chita Rivera, John Stamos and Bernadette Peters meet their fans and one lucky bidder wins a walk-on role in Wicked.

 And finally, this video from 2010 gives you a real feel for what the event is like as stars like Nathan Lane, Susan Blackwell, Anthony Rapp, Jim Caruso, John Tartaglia and Bryan Batt go treasure hunting with happy Broadway fans.

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.