Broadway Cares' in-theatre Red Bucket Fall Fundraising Campaign, which sees Broadway and national touring audiences asked to donate to the theatrical non-profit as they leave the theatre, raised $5,107,791, with the Hugh Jackman- and Sutton Foster-led revival of The Music Man breaking an all-time record and raising $2,002,612. The show's total was bolstered by screen star Nicole Kidman's record-breaking $100,000 donation in a post-show auction for Jackman's straw hat, the highest single donation from any auction in Broadway Cares' history.
Beyond The Music Man, the Broadway musical with the highest fundraising total was The Phantom of the Opera, bringing in $416,379, and followed by Hamilton with $217,652, A Strange Loop with $200,019, and SIX: The Musical with $192,778. As for Broadway plays, The Piano Lesson topped the list raising $108,883, followed by Death of a Salesman with $69,579. Off-Broadway was ruled by Little Shop of Horrors with $31,379 and The Play That Goes Wrong with $23,216.
With cast members unable to hold the donation buckets in the lobby due to ongoing COVID restrictions, buckets were held by Broadway Cares volunteers and staff during this year's campaign. More than 200 masked and vaccinated people participated in collecting donations.
On tour, the Aragon company of SIX was the top fundraiser with $160,043, followed by the Munchkinland company of Wicked with $116,420, and the Philip company of Hamilton with $61,431. National touring productions cumulatively brought in $432,206, using primarily online donations after curtain appeals rather than in-person red bucket donations (volunteers are not always available to hold buckets in touring venues).
"The spirit of giving was with so many audience members and shows who again readily and creatively embraced the decades-long tradition of Red Bucket fundraising," says Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. "We are tremendously thankful to the theatre owners, producers, casts, crews, musicians and, most especially, the stage managers who strategized behind-the-scenes and onstage efforts to engage audiences in appeals. Because of them, our vital support for the Entertainment Community Fund will continue to build a lifesaving safety net of essential services for those in entertainment and the performing arts. And our National Grants Program will continue reaching hundreds of organizations providing meals and medication to those facing hardship and debilitating illnesses."
The Red Bucket Follies, an event featuring songs, dances, and skits from fundraising shows that typically caps off the Red Bucket fundraising campaign, remains on hiatus until fall 2023 due to COVID-19 concerns. In lieu of that event, Broadway Cares hosted a celebration for Visionary Circle- and Angels Circle-level donors titled A Toast to You. Hosted by Seth Rudetsky, the event also featured Jessica Vosk, and a dance from choreographer Jonathan Lee. Jewelle Blackman and Ann Harada were also on hand to share the impact of donor and volunteer efforts.
Since March 2020, Broadway Cares has awarded $35 million in grants to The Actors Fund and 450 other social service organizations across the country. Last month, Broadway Cares provided a record $2.5 million in grants to 127 food service and meal delivery programs nationwide, the first round of this year’s national grants.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other critical illnesses across the United States.