When the actors best known as Wolverine and 007 teamed up as Chicago cops in Keith Huff’s drama A Steady Rain, no one expected Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig to raise more than $1.5 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, breaking every conceivable BC/EFA fundraising record.
But the combination of their star power, generosity of spirit, and an incredibly supportive producing team and backstage crew – led by the stage managers and tireless BC/EFA supporters Michael Passaro and Pat Sosnow – helped the handsome duo turn white T-shirts into gold!
At the end of each performance, Jackman and Craig would auction off the tee shirts they wore during the play – with winning bids ranging from $3,500 to $15,000 each – which they would date and sign for the auction winners. These auctions, combined with sales of autographed Steady Rain posters and Playbills, bucket collections and nightly backstage photo ops with the stars – which sold for $2,000 each – helped this two-character play average $30,000 a night!
Historically, musicals have been the top fundraisers for BC/EFA with shows like Wicked, Jersey Boys, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera – typically playing in larger houses of 1,800 seats or more – taking top honors at BC/EFA’s Easter Bonnet and Gypsy of the Year Competitions.
Miracle in the Making
In 2008, however, two plays did extraordinarily well, thanks largely to the overwhelming generosity and leadership of their stars. Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe, raised $203,000 last fall and in the spring, Jane Fonda and the cast of 33 Variationsraised $183,500!
Jackman’s return to Broadway was another positive sign. Five years ago, he flexed his fundraising muscles while dazzling audiences as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, raising $1,172,000 over two six-week fundraising periods – $632,000 in fall of 2003 and $539,000 in spring of 2004.
And with the combined star-power of this dynamic duo, Craig and Jackman enabled A Steady Rain to beat that total by over $400,000 in just one six-week period.
In honor of Jackman and Craig’s efforts, BC/EFA has made a donation of $75,000 to the British and Australian entertainment community HIV/AIDS fundraising organizations: TheatreMAD and Oz Showbiz Cares.
“What Hugh and Daniel have done for Broadway Cares is truly a miracle,” said Executive Director Tom Viola. “Their generous enthusiasm and good will is extraordinary. Audiences have been delighted. But what their efforts mean for AIDS and family service organizations across the country will be remembered long after the autographs on those auctioned tee shirts have faded.”
“They are simply great guys!”