Broadway fans flooded Shubert Alley to take advantage of the deals and rare finds amongst the various booths at the Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction. The event, which benefits Broadway Care/Equity Fight Aids (BCEFA), is in its 31st year. As of last year, all 30 years of the event raised $12.6 million.
Since the nonprofit organization’s start in 1992, BCEFA has raised more than $285 million for people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. This money, which is used for essential services to help HIV/AIDS patients, is raised through the support of the theater community.
The Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction is just one of the many ways the organization raises money. There is also Broadway Bares, Broadway Backwards, Broadway Bets, and Hudson Valley Dance Festival, to name a few. There are performances of certain shows specifically to benefit the organization sometimes as well.
Shows that had booths at this year’s flea market were: Phantom of the Opera, Waitress, the Lion King, Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked, Hamilton, the Great Comet, Miss Saigon, Hello, Dolly!, School of Rock, Beautiful, Aladdin, NEWSical, and Sweeney Todd.
Besides the show booths, there were also set-ups for theaters and other organizations.
The event ran from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and featured a selfie stage for photos with stars, as well as autograph tables and photobooths available for a donation.
Signed props and costumes were auctioned off, as well as opening night tickets, and autographed musical phrases.
At many tables, there were playbills being sold. While most were 2 for $1, some had signed ones which ran for more. T-Shirts, cups/mugs, hats, aprons, sweatshirts, and baked goods were sold.
This was my first year attending the Broadway flea market, and I was pleasantly surprised with my experience.
I got to the flea market near noon and immediately went to check out all the playbills tables had to offer. Although there wasn’t what I was looking for (a Darren Criss How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying playbill) I found ones for my friends.
After the playbills, I started checking out merch boxes some tables offered. I found a Grease pullover hoodie for $15 for myself, and a Shrek the Musical t-shirt for my friend for $10, as well as 2 hats — one that says “Live Broadway” for $5, and another one with patches of shows that have been on Broadway in the past three years for $10. At this point, I was content with my findings so I went to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
On my way to the bus station from the theater after the show, I decided to do one more lap around the flea market. I was passing a table with a bunch of merch from Hedwig and the Angry Inch where they were doing a flash sale — all t-shirts for $5 for the next five minutes. The sale was in the last two minutes, so I grabbed a t-shirt I had been looking at for months online prior to the flea market and handed over my $5.
And then, when I didn’t think it could get any better, I got a Dirty Dancing apron for my mom for $1 and a Wicked polo for $3.
Not only was the day a huge, fun success with some amazing finds, but all the money goes to a great cause.