Nothing quite puts a smile on the face of theatrical enthusiasts like the annual offerings of Broadway Bears. The cuddly teddy bears, each outfitted in original, handmade costumes by Broadway’s leading costume designers and representing memorable characters from plays and musicals, past and present, are put on the auction block to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS each year, and it is always fun to take a look at the latest batch.
Among the 45 dolls for 2008, each signed by a stage fave, are bruins bearing the likenesses of characters from Beauty and the Beast, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Color Purple, Die Mommie Die! (from Off-Broadway), Fosse (a quite disturbing Mr. Bojangles), Grease, Kiss of the Spider-Woman, Legally Blonde, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, The Lord of the Rings (from London) Mary Poppins, Rent, Monty Python's Spamalot, Tarzan, West Side Story, Wicked, Xanadu and Young Frankenstein.
There are even a few special lots this year: the Bad Idea Bears from Avenue Q (surprised they hadn't done such an obvious one before now) and what appears to be the Victor/Victoria Barbie, autographed by none other then Dame Julie Andrews herself.
UPDATE: The auction, held this past Sunday, raised $127,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The highest priced bear was the Monty Python's Spamalot one, signed by both the original Sir Robin (David Hyde Pierce) and the current one (Clay Aiken).