Oh.My.Goodness. I felt like Shirley Temple with her moppet-y, wide-eyed delight...I was definitely on the Good Ship Folliespop this past weekend~from some amazing shows to meeting legends to spending time with special theatre friends, this was a feast of fun!!
I chose this particular weekend for a NYC trip because it was the once-a-year extravaganza known as the Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a charity I give to throughout the year (and get many fun things in return!!). I love having mementos of experiences, and the BFM is table after table of all things theatre...old Playbills, opening night cast gifts, posters, props, costumes, etc. All the merchandise has been donated by shows, actors and others; and volunteers from the shows staff the tables and interact with the fans. So not only do you get to hunt for memorabilia, but you may be handing your money to a member of the cast! The tables/shows are all competing to raise the most money and their motivation was abundantly clear! :)
I met up with a friend first thing in the morning and within 30 minutes I had acquired what amounted to a holy grail of souvenirs for me: a chimney sweep's broom used in "Mary Poppins" and signed by Gavin Lee, the masterful actor who originated the role of Bert in London and NYC, and is still the gold standard. Lacking Mary Poppins' skill with flying by umbrella, I did have a moment of doubt as to how I was going to maneuver this treasure on the train...whatever~minor details be damned!
The "Newsies" table, conveniently right next door, was the subject of my friend's laser focus...she is an admirably devoted "Fansie" as they're called, and it was a fruitful stop...opening night cast gifts signed by Harvey Fierstein, props signed by cast members, chance to take photos with the enthusiastic Newsies cast members at the table...all around great fun. And at some random tables I found opening night gifts from "Promises Promises," a vintage Playbill I wanted and some artwork by one of my favorite Broadway artists.
My other goal for the day was to visit the autograph tables that featured an array of popular actors donating their time to meet and greet with fans. Each hour offered up a different group of actors and, for a single donation, you were able to meet and chat with approximately 15 actors...they would sign one or two things for you (posters were available to purchase for signing; that's what I did and you can see it above :)).
In the group I chose, I was positively giddy to meet Tyne Daly, Andrea McArdle (the original "Annie" :)), Bebe Neuwirth, Ed Asner, Colman Domingo ("The Scottsboro Boys"), Jan Maxwell ("Follies"), Corey Cott ("Newsies"), Jeremy Kushnier ("Jesus Christ Superstar"), Ann Harada ("Smash" & "Cinderella"), Stephanie Block ("The Mystery of Edwin Drood") and others. I may have broken some kind of record for saying "thank you so much" so many times in one 30 minute span...and yet, each exchange I had with an actor was personal and not rushed and so much fun. It's hard to overstate how satisfying it is to make a personal connection with an actor I've admired on stage; and how personally invested in that show it makes me feel.
By the way, the people watching was endlessly entertaining...fun to see what stuff interested different folks. I know I barely scratched the surface of the treasures to be found; I think next year I'll avoid scheduling a show that Sunday afternoon and be a bit more leisurely! And clearly I will then have to hire pack mules and caravan it back to DC...or get Amtrak to pick me up at my hotel and deliver me to my front door... :). I might need to avoid falling in love with shows that have unwieldy props that I may want to take home...I mean, how many chimney sweep brooms can you have?? Never mind, don't answer that...I don't want to hear it :).
When I wasn't at the Flea Market, the rest of the weekend was non-stop shows...
Next chapter ~ "Kicks" :)
"Join us, come and waste an hour or two...we've got magic to do, just for you...kings and things to take by storm" ("Pippin")
My friend Stephanie and me with the adorable and amazingly talented "Newsies"!
Jess LeProtto (far right) was one of my favorite finalists ever on "So You Think You Can Dance"!
The superstar siblings Celia Keenan Bolger ("Peter and the Starcatcher") and her brother Andrew ("Newsies") being interviewed about BC/EFA and their "Broadway 4 Obama" campaign...go see their shows!!
An original Playbill from one of my favorite shows of all time: Lily Tomlin's "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe"!
I saw this in its first run multiple times but had lost track of my Playbill across many moves (I've learned my lesson, believe me!!)
By the way, Playbill covers for a show are generally only in color for a limited period and then switch to black/white, so I was thrilled to find this one in color and mint!