Broadway Bets Raises Record-Breaking $286,900 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Exhilarating fun and incredible fundraising were in the cards as Broadway fans, stars and behind-the-scenes players raised a spectacular $286,900 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on Monday, May 15, 2017, at the third annual edition of Broadway Bets, Broadway's official poker tournament.
The record-shattering total was revealed after a lively evening of Texas Hold 'em poker at Sardi's restaurant in the heart of New York City's theatre district. Broadway Bets (#BroadwayBets) gives theatre industry insiders and loyal Broadway Cares supporters a chance to play in a friendly poker tournament while raising money for those in need.
The revelry and rivalry drew players from across the industry, with Broadway's brightest talent, theatrical advertising agency executives, theatre owners and producers, and professional poker players stacking the deck. Among the show business luminaries participating in the evening's excitement were Hank Azaria, Alex Brightman, Michael Cera, Brian Koppelman, Steve Martin, Michael Park, David Schwimmer, Lucas Steele, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Tony Yazbeck, cast members from the Tony Award-nominated Hello, Dolly!, including Tony nominee Gavin Creel, the cast of the Tony-nominated A Doll's House, Part 2, including Tony nominees Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, Laurie Metcalf and Condola Rashad, as well as professional poker champions Andy Frankenberger, Erik Seidel, Vanessa Selbst and Ingrid Weber.
This year's Broadway Bets started with 24 Texas Hold 'em poker tables and more than 230 card players filling two floors of the iconic restaurant before 10 players perfected their poker faces and reached the championship table.
The ultimate face-off featured acclaimed actor, comedian and musician Steve Martin and Broadway fans Ken Ruck and Joan Siegel. Surrounded by a cheering crowd, the trio played through a series of hands until Martin lost an all-in battle against Ruck. Then, Ruck bested Siegel to become this year's Broadway Bets champion. As winner, Ruck received a round-trip flight and VIP accommodations in Tampa Bay to see the New York Giants play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The final table also featured, in order of finish, Jack Eldon of Disney Theatrical Productions, Jenifer Thomas of Disney Theatrical Productions, James Murray of The Shubert Organization, Michael Barra of The Araca Group, Kim Hewski from Serino/Coyne, Sierra Duncan of The Road Company and Stephen Lindsay of The Road Company.
Last year's event raised $239,550. The three editions of Broadway Bets have raised a total of $653,750 for Broadway Cares.
Broadway's smash revival of Hello, Dolly!, which was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, served as the evening's "Royal Flush" Bar Sponsor.
The collection of "Full House" Sponsors, who purchased a table for eight players, included AKA, Ambassador Theatre Group, The Araca Group, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Entertainment Benefits Group, Foresight Theatrical, The John Gore Organization (Broadway.com/Broadway Across America), Jujamcyn Theaters, MagicSpace Entertainment, The Nederlander Organization, The Road Company, Road Concierge/ALTOUR, Serino/Coyne, The Shubert Organization, Situation Interactive, SpotCo, Ticketmaster and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
Those not ready to go "all in" purchased Broadway Bets social passes and enjoyed the spirit of the evening while playing blackjack, craps and roulette for prizes.
This year's Broadway Bets was co-chaired by Elliot Greene, executive vice president of The Shubert Organization, and Marla Ostroff, executive vice president of arts and theatre at Ticketmaster. Paul Libin, executive vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters and Broadway Cares Board of Trustees president, and Robert E. Wankel, president and co-CEO of The Shubert Organization and BC/EFA executive vice president, returned as founding co-chairs. Micah Hollingworth of Jujamcyn Theaters, Mark Shacket of Foresight Theatrical and Brett Sirota of The Road Company served as tournament directors.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states.
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