By: Amelia Manley
In addition to providing great entertainment, Broadway productions commit their time and resources to giving back to those in need. Since 1987, Broadway has been actively fighting HIV/AIDS by providing financial support for lifesaving medications, healthcare, nutritious meals and much more. In 1992, two foundations combined to create Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This new organization was established as a not-for-profit fundraising organization that upheld the ideals of the two previous groups. Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS raises every dollar given; this, in turn, provides many services to those affected by HIV/ AIDS. Their mission statement not only includes the mitigation of HIV/AIDS, but also to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS uses its unique position in the entertainment industry to benefit those affected; this includes efforts nation-wide as well as international.
Though familiar to many theatre-goers, Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS use more than just red donation buckets to raise money. One of their most popular events is Broadway Bares, an annual burlesque show fundraiser. This fundraising event has occurred since 1992 and has continued to raise more funds for HIV/ AIDS. Broadway Bares has become highly choreographed and produced since its humble beginnings with eight dancers in rotation. Since then, it has been presented two performances every June in front of sold out crowds in some of the largest clubs in Manhattan.
On June 18, 2017, in the Hammerstein Ballroom, just two performances raised $1,586,114. This year’s event featured a collegiate theme. Bearing the cheeky name ‘Strip U,’ the freshmen were shown the ropes in featured classes, such as chemistry, fine arts, feminist studies and a Pavlovian psychology lesson. The burlesque revue also featured other aspects of the Strip U student experience, including a pep rally, a shirts and skins Lacrosse game and a toga party.
This is only the second year on record that the online fundraising was the largest contributor to the grand total raised. All money raised is for HIV/ AIDS is not-for-profit and to date Broadway Bares has raised $17.4 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The creator of Broadway Bares, Paw Paw, Michigan native Jerry Mitchell, wrapped up the performances reminding the audience that “We must take the power of our diverse communities and dedicate our energies to the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other.”
To learn more about Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, visit their site.