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STAGE TUBE: BC/EFA's 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition Raises $5,528,568; Watch the Grand Total Reveal!


The 30th annual Easter Bonnet Competition, celebrating six weeks of fundraising by 58 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies, raised a record-shattering $5,528,568 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the largest grand total from either an Easter Bonnet Competition or Gypsy of the Year fundraising campaign in Broadway Cares history. The show featured a surprise performance by rock legend Stevie Nicks, two top awards to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton, and more than 230 of the best actors, singers and dancers in New York.

The staggering grand total was announced Tuesday by Christian Borle (Something Rotten!), Jesse Tyler Ferguson(Fully Committed), and Jennifer Hudson (The Color Purple).

This year's Easter Bonnet Competition (#BroadwayBonnets) was presented April 25 and 26 at the Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney's The Lion King. The production featured 17 extravagant, handmade bonnets presented by some of Broadway's most popular shows.

Borle, Ferguson and Hudson also presented awards for the best presentation and best bonnet design. The company of Hamilton took top presentation honors for transforming their opening number into an homage to Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Miranda chillingly portrayed the "demon barber of Fleet Street" as his fellow cast members retold the dark, twisted tale. Click here for the full lyrics to their "Fleet Street Remix," sung to the tune of "Alexander Hamilton."

The company of Fun Home was runner-up for turning West Side Story's "Gee Officer Krumpkee!" into a plea to Miranda to write a show for them. But they ultimately realized that they could control their own destinies by creating roles for themselves, just as Miranda has done.

The award for bonnet design went to the company of An American in Paris for its two-sided bonnet of an exploding smartphone, created by Billy Hipkins, Veanne Cox, Christy Morton, Shannon Rugani, Kelly Saxon, Jeffrey C.Sousa and Tory Trowbridge.

This year's top fundraising award went to Hamilton, which raised an astounding $516,029.

Here's the breakdown of other fundraising leaders:

Broadway Musicals

1st Runner-Up Jersey Boys $266,996

2nd Runner-Up The Book of Mormon $259,496

3rd Runner-Up The Lion King $164,151

Broadway Plays

Top Fundraisers - Tie The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time $68,282

The Humans $68,083

Off-Broadway Plays and Musicals

Top Fundraiser Avenue Q $27,501

National Tours

Top Fundraiser The Book of Mormon - Latter Day $362,842

1st Runner-Up Wicked - Munchkinland $320,581

2nd Runner-Up Kinky Boots $266,812

3rd Runner-Up Newsies $246,523

Last year's event brought in a then-record $4,711,386. Since the Easter Bonnet Competition began in 1987, the event has raised more than $68.8 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The Easter Bonnet Competition is the culmination of six weeks of spring fundraising efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by company members of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions. Participating shows ask Audience members for donations as they exit the theatres and often sell autographed posters, Playbills and other unique, show-specific memorabilia to help raise money.

Other memorable numbers from this year's Easter Bonnet Competition:

-Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks made a surprise appearance to join the kids' band from School of Rock - The Musical. The audience screamed as Nicks - with her distinctive, legendary voice - led the band in Fleetwood Mac's classic hit "Rhiannon," which Nicks wrote.

-Max von Essen and Brandon Uranowitz from An American in Paris lamented theatre audiences' addiction to taking photos and using their smartphones during shows with the comedic "Turn It Off, Seriously," topped off by their award-winning bonnet.

-The company of Chicago, carrying illuminated versions of Broadway Cares' iconic red buckets, mesmerized the audience with an inspiring number featuring the voices of people helped by HIV/AIDS organizations that receive Broadway Cares grants.

-In a jubilant, drum-infused song, South African cast members from Broadway's The Lion King praised the power of humanity to overcome even the biggest challenges when united by one cause. The number featured Snothando Mbanbo, a South African teenager, and Nosipho Duma, co-founder of Umthwalume Community Services, one of more than 50 HIV/AIDS organizations funded by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lion King in South Africa.

-Dancers from Broadway's Wicked, in a piece choreographed by Josh Daniel Green, delivered an elegant and touching performance to Andra Day's "Rise Up," sung live by cast member Daniel Quadrino.

-The company of Off-Broadway's Avenue Q took the opportunity to add a humorous "In Memoriam 2016" tribute to Easter Bonnet Competition, bidding farewell to everything from American Idol and Chris Christie's political career to Empanada Mama and "man buns."

-Kinky Boots' Ellyn Marie Marsh, at the urging of social media personality "Annoying Actor Friend" Andrew Briedis, dropped her heartfelt version of "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife in lieu of a Hamilton-inspired rap rendition.

-Cast members from Off-Broadway's Straight joined Jake Epstein and understudy Greg Balla as they faced off in an impressive, invisible pingpong battle complete with human sound effects.

-Disaster!'s Kevin Chamberlin was joined by special guest Andrew Keenan-Bolger from Tuck Everlasting to recreate their "Alone in the Universe" from Seussical the Musical. The pair had reunited earlier this month as part of a post-show fundraising auction for Broadway Cares, organized by Disaster! creator Seth Rudetsky.

-Broadway Inspirational Voices, a diverse choir of Broadway artists united to change lives through the power of music and service, offered a roof-raising rendition of Sondheim's "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park with George.

This year's Easter Bonnet Competition also featured special numbers honoring the tireless volunteers of Broadway Cares' Bucket Brigade, conceived and directed by Jonathan Cerullo, and a tribute to the hard-working national touring productions raising money across the country, choreographed by Kellen Stancil.

A special bonnet presentation by Broadway Cares' affiliate organizations - Broadway Green Alliance, Broadway Serves and R.Evolución Latina - featured D1 Dance Company, a Peruvian troupe of young dancers which regularly collaborates with R.Evolución Latina. The piece was written and directed by Luis Salgado (On Your Feet!) and choreographed byMichael Grijalva.

This year's Easter Bonnet Competition opened with a rousing production number honoring the 25th anniversary of the Tony Award-winning The Will Rogers Follies. Original cast member Cady Huffman led the Easter Bonnet Competitiondancers in a grand tribute to the Best Musical of 1991. Joined by fellow original cast members Dana Moore and Wendy Waring and The Lion King's L. Steven Taylor, the number reimagined the Broadway classic with an ethnically diverse, modern-day twist. The number was directed by T. Oliver Reid, choreographed by Rommy Sandhu and written by Jed Resnick with music direction by Ben Cohn and arrangements by Cohn and Ted Arthur.

The show ended both days with Rachel York from Disaster! delivering an emotional and powerful rendition of the traditional Easter Bonnet Competition anthem, "Help is on the Way," written by David Friedman.

This year's Easter Bonnet Competition was hosted by Cynthia Erivo from The Color Purple and Leslie Odom Jr. fromHamilton, Disaster!'s Kerry Butler and Jennifer Simard, Alex Brightman from School of Rock - The Musical andCarmen Cusack from Bright Star, Fiddler on the Roof's Adam Kantor and Alexandra Silber, and The Lion King'sTshidi Manye and L. Steven Taylor.

The Crucible's Tina Benko, Jason Butler Harner, Ciarán Hines, Saoirse Ronan, Ray Anthony Thomas and Ben Whishaw - with a special appearance by the show's wolf-like canine, Luchta, and her trainer, Bill Berloni - thanked the 47 shows that raised funds this spring but did not perform.

Special guests Laura Benanti from She Loves Me and Roger Bart from Disaster! introduced the esteemed panel of judges that selected the best presentation award winners on Tuesday.

The Easter Bonnet judges were Nicholas Barasch (She Loves Me), Reed Birney (The Humans), Sierra Boggess(School of Rock - The Musical), Joseph Leo Bwarie (Jersey Boys), Robert Creighton (Cagney), Jayne Houdyshell(The Humans), Alix Korey (Fiddler on the Roof), Kyle Scatliffe (The Color Purple) and Nancy Van Duyne, vice president of congressional affairs at United Airlines, a longtime Broadway Cares corporate sponsor. Lee Perlman andAmy Rocchi, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 29th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September, also joined the panel.

The Easter Bonnet Competition was directed by Kathleen Purvis with Arabella Powell serving as production stage manager, leading a team of 12 expert stage managers. Ben Cohn was music supervisor. Lighting design was by Martin Vreeland and sound by Alain Van Achte.

The Easter Bonnet Competition is generously sponsored by The New York Times and United Airlines.

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 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 Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, and awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states.

For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at, at, at, at and at

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