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by Michael Portantiere

It Might as Well Be Easter


    None of the good people involved in raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are likely to forget the 2007-2008 season. First, the stagehands strike disrupted the organization's fall fundraising efforts, but everyone pulled together and did a phenomenal job anyway. As for the spring, Easter came so early this year that BC/EFA's annual Easter Bonnet competition took place long after the actual holiday -- just this week, in fact. Here are some photos from the event, held on Monday and Tuesday at the Minskoff Theater.


    The show got off to a great start with the hilarious opening number, "Project Broadway."


    Two of the event's hosts, Roger Bart and Megan Mullally, joked about how the house was much more full for the Easter Bonnet competition than it usually is for their show, Young Frankenstein.


    Brian Letendre and Kathleen Nanni, from the cast of Mary Poppins, danced to the Bobby Darin recording of "Lazy River."


    The company of Xanadu in "Love Feels Better."


    Alison Horowitz (left) and Kelsey Fowler, from the cast of Sunday in the Park With George, stopped the show with their "understudy" rendition of "We Do Not Belong Together."


    Spamalot's Hannah Waddingham and Clay Aiken sang a soulful duet that was only briefly interrupted by a nun on roller skates.


    The company of Spring Awakening showed what might happen if they were to perform Grease in the style of their show.


    November's Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf introduced the competition's judges -- and Lane made comic hay with the fact that one of them, Albert Poland, has among his credits the presidency of the Judy Garland Fan Club. (Lane wondered aloud if the vice president was David Gest.)


    A look at Mamma Mia! 2.0


    The company of The Lion King presented their own version of Legally Blonde, titled -- what else? -- Legally Black.


    In a similar vein, the cast of In the Heights performed "Un Dia Mas," a Latino version of "One Day More" from Les Miz.


    The present company of the long-running but soon to close Rent in that show's final Easter Bonnet presentation.


    Another emotional highlight of the event was the triumphant return of former Ziegfeld girl Doris Eaton Travis, now 104 years young. She danced a duet with her partner, Bill George.


    Anika Noni Rose, a.k.a. Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, sang the traditional Easter Bonnet anthem: David Friedman's Help is On the Way.


    A Catered Affair's Harvey Fierstein and Faith Prince joined David Hyde Pierce of Curtains to announce the winners in the presentation and fundraising categories and also to announce that everyone's combined efforts had raised $3,734,129 for BC/EFA.

    Published on Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

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