Here's a winning recipe:
Start with one great cause, add your choice of Broadway talent and blend well. In any order, mix in an assortment of eatable and drinkable sweet treats. When smooth, stir in an unlimited number of avid and generous fans of Broadway and taste some delicious fun!
One of the most scrumptious stops in the Hell's Kitchen/Theater District area of NYC is Schmackary's. They serve liquid and baked refreshments, it feels as if you're in a neighborhood hang out and it's become a must-go destination for me when I'm in the city. The baked goods even travel well, so I bring a survival kit of cookies/brownies to enjoy back in DC.
But it's always better when a business feels a responsibility to the community in their neighborhood, and Schmackary's has embraced the theater community with a huge heart. So for a week in May '13, they enlisted the help of some of their rather well-known Broadway friends (and cookie fans themselves!) to serve behind the counter from 3-6pm each day, during which time the proceeds would go to Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS (I've written about two of their events in the past: the Broadway Flea Market in September and the Easter Bonnet Competition in April). They called the week "Broadway Bakes," and the various Broadway teams had a friendly competition to see which day would earn the most for the cause.
Over the week, actors from shows such as Kinky Boots, Cinderella, Wicked and Newsies all showed up to pitch in. Here's what the full line up looked like (there were some changes during the week, with additional guests showing up unannounced :):
Friday, May 31 '13 featured some of my very favorite Broadway talents. A fabulous brother-sister two-fer of Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies, Tuck Everlasting) and Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter & The Starcatcher, The Glass Menagerie); and the composing team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dogfight, A Christmas Story).
From left: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Schmackary's owner Zachary Schmahl, and Celia Keenan-Bolger
For an additional donation to the Broadway Cares Tip Jar, the gang was kind enough to sign my box of cookies after Benj did a great job of juggling the assortment I requested~3 of this, 3 of that, 6 of the other, etc. I can never choose my flavors easily, and somehow, when it's an incredibly talented (and so nice :)) Broadway composer picking out the cookies for me, I found it even harder. In hindsight, I apologize to the folks in line behind me as I had to compose myself while ordering!
My very favorite flavor is Cookies N Cream (below), but I've never had a cookie, or any treat, from Schmackary's that I didn't love :). Next time you're in the theater district, head to W 45th St. & 9th Ave...they're open early to late, it's never the wrong time for a treat, and they're just nice people who care about the community!!
By the way, the total raised for the week came to over $8,600 and the team that raised the most was the team from Wednesday that featured Stephanie J. Block, Rob McClure, Ellyn Marsh and Lilla Crawford, among others!
p.s. They also have an online presence at www.schmackarys.com!
On April 23, 2013, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS held its annual fundraiser, The Easter Bonnet Competition, in which various shows (cast & crew) get together to try and outdo each other in the design of the most creative, outlandish headwear. The entries are presented on two days in April with comedy and musical skits accompanying the parade of "bonnets." Awards are presented on the second day, as judged by a celebrated panel. The proceeds from ongoing show fundraising efforts, and ticket proceeds from the competition all go to the organizations efforts to provide for those in need in the NY theater community.
The judges for the 2013 competition, as described by the Broadway Cares website were "two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes, choreographer Josh Bergasse, Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox, Tony winner Cady Huffman, Jujamcyn Theaters' executive vice president Paul Libin (who also is president of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' Board of Trustees), Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis, Emmy winner Holland Taylor and Michael Urie. Also joining the judging panel were Hollis Stern and Peg Wendlandt, who won their spots by being high bidders on exclusive VIP packages at the 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September."
An all-star roster of hosts and presenters provided additional entertainment. I loved seeing Katie Finneran ("Annie"); Billy Porter ("Kinky Boots"); Nathan Lane ("The Nance"); Andrea Martin ("Pippin"); Christopher McDonald & Peter Scolari ("Lucky Guy") and the amazing trio of Harvey Fierstein, Cyndi Lauper and Tom Hanks! The audience also included recognizable faces, including Judith Light, Delia Ephron (cheering on the cast of her sister Nora's final play "Lucky Guy"), and producer Daryl Roth ("Kinky Boots," "Lucky Guy," "Annie").
The event was held at the Minskoff Theatre (home of "The Lion King"), and you can watch the highlights below:
Tom Hanks, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein announced the winners.
The grand total raised from this year's event: $4,250, 542 broke the previous record of $3,734,129 set in 2007.
Harvey Fierstein and Lilla Crawford ("Annie") greet fans at the stage door after the event.