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Easter Bonnet Competition 2019 Highlights

Records were shattered and inspiring, comical and soul-stirring performances were shared at the 33rd annual Easter Bonnet Competition, which raised $6,594,778 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the highest amount ever for a Broadway Cares event. The record-breaking number was raised by 69 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions and was announced Tuesday, April 23, 2019, by Bryan Cranston (Network), Jeff Daniels (To Kill a Mockingbird), Glenda Jackson (King Lear) and Kelli O’Hara (Kiss Me, Kate). The previous record was $6,379,572, set in 2017. Since the Easter Bonnet Competition began in 1987, the event has raised $87.5 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This year’s Easter Bonnet Competition (#BroadwayBonnets), which celebrated six weeks of spring fundraising, took place on April 22 and 23 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney's The Lion King. The production featured unforgettable performances and 20 one-of-a-kind, handcrafted bonnets. This year’s top overall fundraising award went to the Hamilton - And Peggy tour, which raised $513,734. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda made a surprise appearance to accept the award. Cranston, Daniels, Jackson and O’Hara also presented awards for best presentation and best bonnet design. The award for best presentation went to the cast of Off-Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof - in Yiddish, which asked the question, “What if other Broadway classics were translated into Yiddish?” Their answer was a side-splitting medley of the Yiddish versions of The Book of Mormon, Chicago, Dreamgirls, Hamilton, Legally Blonde, South Pacific, West Side Story and Wickedi, culminating with the show’s legendary director, Joel Grey, singing “Git op mayn grus tsu Brodvey” (“Give my regards to Broadway”) from George M!. The skit was written by cast members Ben Liebert and Adam B. Shapiro. The company of Network was runner-up for a series of vignettes where the UBS news desk was opened for a series of auditions to fill the shoes of legendary anchor Howard Beale. The hilarious and politically charged auditioners included Fred Applegate (The Ferryman), Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Jackie Hoffman (Fiddler on the Roof - in Yiddish) and Sharon Wheatley (Come From Away) before Broadway’s original Beale, Bryan Cranston, took one more shot at getting “mad as hell” and “not going to take it any more.” The “auditions” were written and directed by cast member Nick Wyman, who ultimately wore the Network bonnet. The award for best bonnet design went to Come From Away. Designed by Melissa Joy Crawford, the bonnet honored Gander, Newfoundland’s new-found status as a tourist attraction in the wake of Come From Away’s exceptional success. The larger-than-life, illuminated bonnet paid homage to the ubiquitous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
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