Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Audra McDonald ornament designed by Glen Hanson & the Christopher Radko Company

Broadway is back, Baby! Not even a global viral pandemic can dim the lights of Broadway forever! During the nineteen-month closure of Broadway, thousands of writers, actors, musicians, stagehands, lighting experts, and all the other multi-talented people it takes to put on a Broadway show found themselves unemployed. But for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, “The show must go on,” and the work of BC/EFA went on unimpeded. Your purchase of gifts from BC/EFA ensures that the curtain never goes down on the important work they do.

Tell Me More: For starters, check out BC/EFA’s “Legends” series of holiday ornaments, honoring the divas who have graced a Broadway stage. “Legends” is a series of collectable hand-made glass ornaments depicting legendary Broadway divas in their signature roles, designed by Glen Hanson and the Christopher Radko Company exclusively for BC/EFA. In past years they have honored Carol Burnett, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, and everyone’s favorite gravel-voiced diva Harvey Fierstein. This year’s honoree is the incandescent Audra McDonald! With more Tony Awards than any other performer in the history of Broadway, McDonald has created some of the most memorable characters in Broadway lore. The ornament depicts Ms. McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille.

In addition to the “Legends” series, the Broadway Cares Classic Collection honors the classic musicals of Broadway. Each item features the logos from long-running favorites and classic Broadway musicals. The Collection includes:

Fleece Blanket: This machine-washable 50 by 60 inches fleece blanket features the logos of long-running and classic Broadway musicals.

Storage Box: You’ve been collecting Broadway Playbills for decades, right? Why not store them (or other collectibles) in this stylish 6.5 by 8.75 by 5 inches sturdy box wrapped in Classic Collection fabric?

Placemats and Napkins: Dress up your holiday table with these stylish, durable placemats and napkins featuring Broadway musical logos.

Gift Wrap: What better way to wrap your holiday gifts from BC/EFA than with their Classic Collection Gift Wrap? The package includes two 26 inches by 10 feet gift wrap with coordinating bows and ribbons.

How Much: You can glam up your holiday tree with Audra McDonald for just $65; fleece blanket: $35; storage box: $20; placemats and napkins: $25; and the gift wrap package is $20.

Who Benefits: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. Since 1988, BC/EFA has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses. Utilizing the unique talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, BC/EFA is the major supporter of the essential social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, and The Friedman Health Center. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS organizations in all 50 states. BC/EFA programs also include Classical Action (recruiting classical, opera, and jazz performers to raise funds) and Dancers Responding to AIDS.

How to Order: To order these or any of the other dozens of items BC/EFA offers, go to www.BroadwayCares.org or call (212) 840-0770 ext. 238 to place an order.

As we approach the holidays near the end of this calamitous year, many of us may struggle to find reasons for celebration. It’s been a challenging year on multiple levels. Climate change set the West Coast on fire, while it drowned the Southeast and Northeast in freakish rainstorms. Even if the effects of climate change haven’t kept us awake at night, we’ve had to cope with the still-spreading, still-deadly COVID-19 crisis (and its accompanying epidemic of disinformation) for nineteen months. And of course these calamities have impacted the HIV community, with reduced HIV testing, the closure of many clinics, and a dangerous drop in funding for HIV/AIDS-related organizations and services.

It’s been an exhausting year.

Perhaps that is why celebrating the holidays this year is so important. For the sake of our sanity, we need some spirited revelry, some levity to light the darkness that has surrounded us. As Jerry Herman wrote for Mame, “For we need a little music, need a little laughter / Need a little singing ringing through the rafter / Yes we need a little snappy happy ever after.” We need the human contact of gathering together, sharing a holiday feast, toasting each other’s health, exchanging gifts.

In our 20th Annual Holiday Gift Guide, you’ll find a wide array of gifts that perform triple duty—they will delight the recipients of your gifts, you will enjoy the spirit of giving, and each gift helps to raise funds for one HIV/AIDS-related organization or another. Greeting cards, jewelry, T-shirts, hats, food stuffs, artwork, holiday ornaments—you name it, you’ll find the perfect gifts here in a broad range of prices.

So be of good cheer! Get out your gift list and get busy spreading love and joy among your friends and family. We sure could use some love and joy these days!
Happy Holidays!

—Hank Trout


Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-one-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.