The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction is all about the fans.
The 36th annual event, presented by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, once again united theater lovers in Times Square on Sunday, September 25.
More than 50 tables lined West 44th and 45th streets as fans gathered to purchase memorabilia, meet Broadway stars, win tickets to shows, and ultimately, support the theatrical community.
”The spirit of Broadway is so wonderful,” fan Tori Vagasy told Broadway News.
Another, Nikko Angelo Hinayo, was happy to be “giving back to the community.” He volunteered at the flea market, arriving at 6am, and was still going strong just after 1pm.
Since its inception in 1987, the flea market has raised more than $15 million.
In addition to the physical tables and booths, this year’s flea had an online auction component on “Fleabay,” allowing fans from around the world to take part. The silent auction was held from 10am in Shubert Alley, while the live auction took place at 5pm.
This year’s event saw the debut of “Kristin’s Kloset,” featuring various clothing items and memorabilia from Broadway actor Kristin Chenoweth. In addition to being represented with a table, a long line of fans wrapped through Shubert Alley awaiting an opportunity to snap a photo with the pink-clad Chenoweth. Fellow “Wicked” veteran Jessica Vosk was sighted at the Kristin’s Kloset table, excitedly chatting with fans purchasing items.
A handful of Broadway enthusiasts were dressed for the occasion, with some sporting the signature blue “Dear Evan Hansen” polo shirt and others donning all black as “Beetlejuice” lead Lydia.
Phantom “phans” were chatting on a bench outside the Marriott Marquis away from the hustle and bustle of the market’s tables, expressing their sadness over the musical’s history-making run coming to a close and trying to find the exact word to describe their fandom.
One phan won tickets to Sunday’s performance of “Phantom” at one of the market’s tables. The ticket raffles are another aspect of the flea market that not only help raise funds but connect more fans with productions they haven’t seen — or that they know, love and keep celebrating.
She asked the group around her if anyone wanted to go, but another phan suggested she introduce someone to “Phantom” before it closes; it was a heartwarming display of the camaraderie that makes the theatrical community one of a kind.
“Now more than ever, arts is such an integral part of who we are as people,” Hinayo said. “Especially through COVID, people turned to the arts for help. And with shows closing, we need to support the arts — especially any type of theater.”