NEW YORK – The stellar box office for Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway is certainly lining the pockets of its star and producers. But the show and its charismatic song-and-dance headliner are also spreading the wealth, leading the fundraising pack in this fall’s annual “Gypsy of the Year” event benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
In only three weeks of performances during the six-week campaign, Jackman’s post-show appeals to the audience for donations raised a whopping $857,740. That total was fed by auctions of undershirts worn by Jackman in the show, which went for upwards of $10,000 a pop.
Claiming his award during a ceremony at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Tuesday, Jackman joked, “You have no idea how much sex I’ve been having.” He got a standing ovation when the total raised by his show was announced. Jackman thanked the dancers in his production, the stage management team and his dresser, all of whom stayed past midnight many nights to count the money raised.
Other top fundraisers included How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, with audiences responding to star Daniel Radcliffe’s charms by coughing up $325,935, while the boys from The Book of Mormon came in third among the Broadway participants, mustering $315, 968.
In total, the 53 participating Broadway, Off Broadway and national touring companies collected a record-breaking $4,895,253 during the intensive fundraising drive, a Broadway tradition since 1989. The previous record was $4.6 million in 2009. Since its inception, the “Gypsy of the Year” event, which culminates with a variety show featuring casts from participating productions, has raised more than $49 million.
Founded in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $195 million to provide essential services for people living with AIDS and other critical illnesses nationwide.
Jackman’s Broadway show continues to play to SRO crowds, setting a new house record at the Broadhurst Theatre for the fifth time last week with a gross of $1.5 million.