Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ traditional in-theater red bucket fundraising will make its long-awaited return beginning Friday, March 18, 2022. Companies of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows will resume their decades-long tradition of encouraging audience donations that help provide nutritious meals, medication, health care, counseling and emergency financial assistance for those in need. The post-show audience appeals and iconic #RedBuckets have been absent from stages and theaters since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the industry in March 2020. Traditionally, these appeals take place twice a year during six enthusiastic weeks of fundraising in the spring and fall. The spring fundraising campaign will begin Friday, March 18, and continue through Sunday, May 1. The first participating shows will be announced next week.
Donations will support the emergency assistance and essential social service programs of The Actors Fund, helping everyone in entertainment, as well as provide critical funding for 450 local social service organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This spring campaign marks the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that most productions will share post-show appeals during their curtain calls from theater stages.
Although Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS put red bucket appeals on hiatus last fall, four Broadway shows - Girl from the North Country, Six, Thoughts of a Colored Man and Wicked - graciously made audience appeals after their performances in November and December. The Eliza and And Peggy national tours of Hamilton also joined in the scaled-down fundraising. These efforts helped lay the groundwork for the wider return this spring of safe and efficient in-person appeals.
Although in-theater appeals are back, the two-day Easter Bonnet Competition performance, which typically celebrates the end of the spring fundraising efforts, will remain on hiatus until April 2023.
“As Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows have returned to their theaters, it has been our utmost priority to respect the work it takes to get these productions up and running,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “Delaying the return of the Easter Bonnet Competition performances until next year allows shows to step back first into fundraising efforts while maintaining their current safety protocols. This tiered approach - a trial run of appeals last fall followed by a full season of appeals this spring - will allow productions to enthusiastically join us this fall in both our fundraising and in the return of the celebratory Red Bucket Follies performances, which will lift the roof of the New Amsterdam Theatre on December 5 and 6.”
Despite the full two-year-long in-theater fundraising pause brought about by the pandemic, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ grant-making has continued in earnest. Since March 2020, Broadway Cares has awarded $35 million in grants to The Actors Fund and 450 other social service organizations across the country. Just 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, the philanthropic heart of Broadway, 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 theater 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.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.