Tuesday, April 24, 2012

TOP THREE: Ricky Martin, Judith Light, Audra McDonald, Nick Jonas & Others Entertain at the Broadway Cares Easter Bonnet Competition

We Love Soaps just returned from a Broadway show starring Nick Jonas, Michael Urie, Ricky Martin, Eric McCormack, Audra McDonald, Megan Hilty, Jerry O'Conell, Corbin Bleu, Raven-Symoné, Judith Light and many more. United for charity, with the help of the cast of almost every current Broadway production, they gathered this afternoon to compete, and to announce that they had raised an incredible $3,677,855 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Every spring, the major Broadway shows (and some Off-Broadway and touring productions, too!) compete in the annual Easter Bonnet Competition. Each show creates an over-the-top "bonnet" and presents it with a full-scale theatrical number. A celebrity panel (including Hugh Dancy and Lisa Lampanelli--tough crowd) decides which creation was the best. As each show busts out its most famous names and outrageous gags in an effort to one-up one another, win the competition, and earn the most money for charity, a lucky audience of Broadway supporters gets to enjoy one of the most unusual spectacles of the year.

3. Raven-Symoné: "Is that so, Jeremy?"
Jeremy Jordan of Newsies and Raven-Symoné were our first hosts. Their chemistry was palpable as they tossed out one gag after another, including an exchange in which Jeremy confessed to owning all of Raven's albums and being a huge fan. "Is that so, Jeremy?" asked Raven. Can you guess his response?  "That's so, Raven!" The crowd loved it.

2. Audra McDonald: "Rest your voice, now."
Toward the end, Audra McDonald, Eric McCormack and Ricky Martin announced the winners. With all that fame and talent on stage, you can imagine that things quickly went off-script. After an intro by Eric that went just a shade to long, Audra advised him playfully, under her breath, "Rest your voice, now." To which he shamelessly rejoined, "Yes, I don't want to miss a show." Ooh!

1. The Cast of Phantom of the Opera: "Oh, SHUT UP, Edith!"
One of the best parts of the Easter Bonnet Competition is that creativity is definitely rewarded. Our favorite example of strategic originality this year--and our favorite moment of the afternoon--was the entire "presentation" by the cast of, of all people, The Phantom of the Opera. We don't love the show (but it certainly is a crowd-pleaser), but their biting, full-costume satire of DOWNTON ABBEY was dead-on.

Best described as "The Ladies of Downton Abbey Meet THE BACHELOR," the whole sketch had us all in stitches. But the best part was when poor (yet--admit it--annoying) Edith got a good comeuppance. More than once, the entire cast cut her off, shouting, "Oh, SHUT UP, Edith!" Hysterical, yes--and for most DOWNTON fans, also rather cathartic.

For information on upcoming Brodway Cares fundraising events, visit www.broadwaycares.org.

- Donate to our AIDS Walk New York 2012 Team
- Q&A: Raven-Symoné to Georgias Everywhere: It Doesn't Get Any Easier, Sweetheart
- 50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #6 Judith Light

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