For the first time in its history (beginning in Shubert Alley in 1987), the annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, produced by and benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, goes virtual this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic prohibits the usual in-person gathering in the heart of the New York theater district. But fans and collectors everywhere can participate in the online bidding that is now open, and will culminate in the main Zoom-room livestream auction event beginning at 5 pm on Sunday, September 20.
The new digital format contains the traditional wealth of live and silent auction items, along with special “flea market finds” and eBay “buy it now” bundles, all of which offer theater-lovers the opportunity to bring home show-biz memorabilia and theatrical treasures from their favorite shows and stars. And instead of the popular autograph table and photo booth, Broadway Cares will offer a limited number of exclusive one-on-one video chats with famed Broadway luminaries, so participants can still enjoy an up-close-and-personal meet-and-greet experience with such acclaimed stage idols as Jonathan Groff, André De Shields, Bernadette Peters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, John Benjamin Hickey, and Ben Platt, or a virtual walk in the woods with Alan Cumming.
Among the nearly 100 auction lots already up for bid are opening night and party tickets to The Music Man and Plaza Suite; a special guest appearance on Stars in the House with Seth Rudetsky; a Beauty and the Beast painting, signed by Paige O’Hara; a daredevil costume worn by Tom Hiddleston; a musical phrase from Waitress, handwritten and signed by Sara Bareilles; autographed Playbills from the casts of Dear Evan Hansen, Angels in America, Betrayal, Springsteen on Broadway, and Freestyle Love Supreme; a signed 1944 letter from Bette Davis to Red Skelton; and a Gone With the Wind window card signed by Olivia De Havilland.
Last year’s Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised $870,167. In total, the 33 installments of the annual event have raised $15.4 million, enabling Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to provide essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other critical illnesses across the US. For more information, visit the non-profit charity organization’s website or Facebook page. To participate in the auction bidding, register online.