The sights and smells of fall are beginning to appear everywhere. Everyone is grabbing their favorite pumpkin spice–flavored coffees, jugs of apple cider are featured prominently at farmers’ markets, and the evenings have a crisp odor of bonfires. With the season ushering itself in, it is time for another timely tradition: the annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, a charitable event that channels its proceeds into the hands of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The event, which will be held in Broadway’s Shubert Alley on September 30, is a thrilling opportunity for theater fans to shop for memorabilia from their favorite shows, mix with some of Broadway’s most celebrated talents, and give to a deserving cause that helps many people who are in need. Boasting more than 50 tables full of collectable merchandise, visitors will see all their favorite current shows represented, including Aladdin, Anastasia, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Mean Girls, NEWSical The Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, Pretty Woman, School of Rock: The Musical, Sweeney Todd, Waitress, and Wicked. There will also be tables with items from recently closed productions. Everything from autographs to old Playbills will be on hand for theater fans and collectors.
Another popular aspect of the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction will return this year: the Autograph Table and Photo Booth, located on the deck of Junior’s at Shubert Alley. This attraction will welcome more than 60 actors from Broadway’s best shows. The list of participants will be announced Tuesday, September 18. This portion of the fundraiser will be hosted by Jim Caruso, host of Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland, and Ben Cameron, seasoned Broadway performer and host of Broadway Sessions at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.
The flea market represents only one aspect of the event. There are also auctions for bigger, exciting, out-of-the-box prizes. Select items and experiences are available for early bidding now, with auction lots continually being added. Among the initial lots up for bid are:
- Priceless walk-on roles in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Frozen, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Pretty Woman, with more unforgettable roles in beloved Broadway shows to be announced.
- VIP house seats and backstage visits to meet Aladdin and the Genie, Telly Leung, and Major Attaway, at Aladdin; this year’s Tony Award winners Katrina Lenk and Ari’el Stachel at The Band’s Visit; Cher, Sonny, and Bob Mackie (Stephanie J. Block, Jarrod Spector, and Michael Berresse) at The Cher Show; Jenn Colella and Chad Kimball at Come From Away; Taylor Trensch at Dear Evan Hansen; Caissie Levy and Patti Murin at Frozen; Mark Ballas at Kinky Boots; Laura Benanti and Harry Hadden-Paton at My Fair Lady; the “Donnas” — LaChanze, Ariana DeBose— at Summer: The Donna Summer Musical; and Michael Urie at Torch Song, with more backstage experiences to be added.
- Musical phrases handwritten and signed by Sara Bareilles from Waitress; Edie Brickell and Steve Martin from Bright Star; David Hein and Irene Sankoff from Come From Away; Jerry Herman from Hello, Dolly!; Alan Menken from Aladdin; Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Ben Platt from Dear Evan Hansen; and an extraordinary addition from Kiss of the Spider Woman, signed by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Chita Rivera. Also up for bid is a lot with the handwritten conductor’s score pages for “God, That’s Good!” from Sweeney Todd signed by Stephen Sondheim.
- Unique experiences, including a guest spot with SethRudetsky on the wildly popular “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” on SiriusXM’s “On Broadway” channel, and two VIP house seats to Bruce Springsteen’s sold-out Springsteen on Broadway and a Playbill signed by The Boss.
- One-of-a-kind show memorabilia autographed by Laura Benanti, Matt Bomer, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Michael Cera, Barbara Cook, Gavin Creel, Danny DeVito, Chris Evans, Harvey Fierstein, Sutton Foster, Andrew Garfield, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Jeremy Jordan, Carole King, Nathan Lane, Bob Mackie, Kirstin Maldonado, Lindsay Mendez, Bette Midler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Bebe Neuwirth, Chazz Palminteri, Jim Parsons, Bernadette Peters, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Chita Rivera, Mark Ruffalo, Lea Salonga, Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Barbra Streisand, and others.
Broadway fans can bid on exclusive memorabilia, unforgettable onstage and backstage opportunities, and more at broadwaycares.org. Early bidding on silent and live auction lots will continue through Friday, September 28. Then, on September 30 at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, silent auction lots will open every half hour beginning at 10 a.m. for in-person bidding; the live auction begins at 5 p.m. Jen Cody and Michael Goddard return to cohost the silent auction, and Bryan Batt and Nick Nicholson will return as host and auctioneer of the live auction, respectively.
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction launched in 1987, with 2018 marking its 32nd edition. In its more than three decades of fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (a nonprofit charity), the event has raised millions of dollars. Last year alone the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction secured $1,023,309 for the organization that provides essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
The 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction is sponsored by The New York Times and United Airlines.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.