Broadway fans of all types just welcomed the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market and Grand Auction. The September Sunday weather was perfect in the low 70s with brief appearances of sunshine, and those in the Broadway know were out in droves. It's always a great chance to catch up with pals and meet others who I admire. I was so happy to get a visit from a college friend and her husband as well as a cavalcade of dear pallies from here and nearby.
Some of you may know that the Flea Market has huge significance in my journey to NYC and my artistic adventures here, so I was thrilled to be hosting a table for the seventh time. I brought some recent prints but really raided the archives for some super obscure stuff. And buttons. I had amazing assistance from my pal Laura Ware and business partner Dori Berinstein. The event raised a record-breaking $756,655 by dusk and we were so happy to be a small part of that.
But I've got to tell you what brought me the biggest joy this day...
As I've mentioned in a couple of previous blog entries, I've been toiling away on The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ for a while now, and along with my collaborator Dori have been working on how to make this a viable business and successful venture on a few different fronts (financial, charitable, community-building, etc.). There have been a couple of logistic challenges which have required patience and more than a little thinking outside the box. We've had an idea about how the cards would be accepted based on the reaction of friends and family and a few folks who have already begun collecting on their own. We had no idea.
As folks poked around the table early in the day, they seemed intrigued. Curious. We had packs for the going price of $5 per as well as some single cards that we were asking a suggested donation of $5 each for (in the spirit of charity). They gradually started going to good homes. And at some point, people started sticking around waiting for others to buy them. "Hey, did you get a Something Rotten?" "Yes, do you have a Sutton Foster?" A few more people stop by. There's a small crowd. "I got a Stephen Sondheim! He's the KING!" It's flurry of trading activity. A few collectors dropped by throughout the day with their cards already in binders. Many had autographed cards.
Dori had planted herself at the card table and made her own supply of single cards available for trading. "Boy, Annaleigh Ashford, Billy Porter, and Christian Borle are popular." I sign a few title cards. A small flock of kids from School of Rock swing by and are pulled in as if we had some Broadway tractor beam. "A Kelli O'Hara! Fun Home!" "Can I have your Fun Home??" "Oh I got a Matthew Morrison!" "Would you trade for..." "NOOOOO!!" Dori and I caught eyes numerous times and exchanged looks of happy bewilderment at the enthusiasm we were seeing. A good half dozen we chatted with throughout the day had collected all 75 cards, and a number of others were very close. Our venture was being welcomed with open arms by exactly the right people.
I'm doing my best to express my gratitude to those who bought (especially since the buying benefited a great cause) and traded and expressed their delight and offered suggestions. My heart was full. I got misty-eyed often but tried to keep a stiff upper lip. It wasn't until after packing up that I felt the full emotional impact of the day and had a few good happy cries. This thing might just work! This thing that has taken a lot of heart and hopes and planning and toil has even more potential than we had thought. And I feel so incredibly grateful.
As the sun set on another year's Flea, we anticipated a rare "super harvest blood moon with total lunar eclipse." A few wacky folks predicted the end of the world. This wacky person sees it as the beginning of something pretty great.