Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ traditional in-theater Red Bucket fundraising concluded its fall campaign with 36 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions raising $5,107,791 to provide meals and medication, health care and hope for those living with HIV/AIDS, dealing with COVID-19 or facing other debilitating illnesses this holiday season.
Broadway Cares’ Red Bucket Fall Fundraising Campaign took place over a six-week period that ended Sunday, December 4, 2022.
Broadway’s The Music Man topped all fundraisers, raising an exuberant $2,002,612. Stars Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, with their nightly auction of costume pieces and props, enlivened the show’s campaign again, nearly equaling the single-show record they set earlier this year during the Spring Fundraising Campaign.
“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,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We are tremendously thankful to the theater 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.”
Here are the leaders from this year’s Red Bucket Fall Fundraising Campaign:
All-Time Record-Breaking Champion
The Music Man – $2,002,612
Top Fundraiser: The Phantom of the Opera – $416,379
1st Runner-up: Hamilton – $217,652
2nd Runner-up: A Strange Loop – $200,019
3rd Runner-up: Six – $192,778
Top Fundraiser: The Piano Lesson – $108,883
1st Runner-up: Death of a Salesman – $69,579
Off-Broadway Plays and Musicals
Top Fundraiser: Little Shop of Horrors – $31,379
1st Runner-up: The Play That Goes Wrong – $23,216
Top Fundraiser: Six - Aragon company – $160,043
1st Runner-up: Wicked - Munchkinland company – $116,420
2nd Runner-up: Hamilton - Philip company – $61,431
The Broadway companies participating in this fall’s Red Bucket fundraising were 1776, Aladdin, Beetlejuice, The Book of Mormon, Chicago, The Collaboration, Death of a Salesman, Funny Girl, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Into the Woods, Kimberly Akimbo, Leopoldstadt, The Lion King, MJ, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Music Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Piano Lesson, Six, A Strange Loop, Take Me Out and Wicked. The Off-Broadway productions of Little Shop of Horrors and The Play That Goes Wrong also rallied support through audience appeals.
Ten national tours also joined: Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Hadestown, Hamilton - Philip company, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Six - Aragon company, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and Wicked - Munchkinland company.
The national touring productions raised $432,206, relying almost exclusively on QR codes and online donations after curtain appeals rather than in-person red bucket donations. Broadway Cares can not provide volunteers to hold buckets in the tours’ 36 cities on the road as done in New York City. To help in the fundraising, some productions also created personalized video greetings in exchange for donations through the Cameo app.
For New York City productions, lobby buckets were held exclusively by Broadway Cares volunteers and staff. Traditionally, cast members also appear at the exits, but current COVID-19 safety measures prevented direct interaction. More than 200 masked and vaccinated volunteers and staff members offered opportunities to make donations and thanked audiences leaving performances.
The two-day Red Bucket Follies performances, which feature songs, dances and skits by shows that fundraised and typically celebrate the end of the fall fundraising efforts, are on hiatus until fall 2023 because of COVID-19 concerns.
In lieu of Red Bucket Follies, Broadway Cares presented the special event A Toast to You, a celebration for members of the Visionary Circle and Angels Circle, donors who generously support Broadway Cares year-round and traditionally attend Red Bucket Follies.
Since 1989, the fall fundraising efforts have raised $91.4 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The six-week Red Bucket appeals each fall and spring have become the lifeblood of Broadway Cares’ fundraising efforts, fueling Broadway Cares’ vital grant-making. In 2022, $8.65 million was awarded to 485 social service organizations in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, restoring grant amounts to pre-pandemic levels. An additional $8.25 million was awarded to the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) to support a safety net of social services for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment.