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!