Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, abbreviated as BC/EFA, is a New York City-based nonprofit founded in 1988 (a hybrid of Actors Equity's "Equity Fights AIDS" and The Producers' Group "Broadway Cares") to support those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It has continued to support those living with HIV and AIDS through a series of fundraising endeavors, such as auctions and an annual flea market. Their most intricate endeavors are their annual stage productions where members of the Broadway community gather to perform sketches and musical numbers.
BC/EFA's annual shows include:
- The Easter Bonnet Competition: An annual spring competition between the companies of the current Broadway productions, where each company puts on a short theatrical performance and then presents a large ornate Easter bonnet themed to their performance. The judges then vote on the best performance and the best Easter bonnet.
- Red Bucket Follies: Previously titled "Gypsy of the Year," this fall competition showcases the chorus members of each Broadway company in various sketches, and judges then vote on which performance is best. Similar to the Easter Bonnet Competition, but without the bonnets.
- Broadway Backwards: A concert performance where actors sing gender flipped covers of various Broadway songs.
- Broadway Bares: A burlesque show where Broadway actors and dancers perform stripteases. Not to be confused with the charity's "Broadway Bears" venture, which auctions off teddy bears that look like Broadway characters.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of these performances were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. However, BC/EFA did host a virtual clip show titled "Broadway Bares: Zoom In" in 2020, and in 2021, they premiered a virtual production of Broadway Backwards, with the framing device of a young man named Billy watching the productions on television and struggling with his sexual orientation.
Tropes in the BC/EFA competitions include:
- All Gays Love Theater: In the 2021 Broadway Backwards, Jenn Collela can tell that Billy is gay because of how much he loves Broadway divas. He has three Gypsy revival posters on his wall!
- Coming-Out Story: The plot of the 2021 virtual Broadway Backwards production stars a gay man named Billy who struggles to accept being gay, as he was rejected by his family for coming out. He keeps trying to call them and gets no response. Near the end of the video, he calls them one last time and tells them they shouldn't just love parts of him, but all of him.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Frequently, the gender-reversed songs in Broadway Backwards set up a different story, usually a gay love story.
- Bonnie Mulligan's cover of "I Met a Girl" becomes about a young city girl coming out as a lesbian.
- Andrew Keenan-Bolger's cover of "The History of Wrong Guys," originally about a woman falling for her coworker named Charlie, is set in a Starbucks where a barista falls for one of his regular male customers, Charlie. Charlie gets a coffee for someone named Nicola, who Andrew assumes is his girlfriend. The "Why are they only nice when they're unavailable?" line is recontextualized as Incompatible Orientation. However, while Charlie in Kinky Boots really does have a girlfriend named Nicola, in this cover, Nicola turns out to be Charlie's sister, and Charlie and Andrew end up together at the end of the song.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Averted in most cases in Broadway Backwards, as the show is a celebration of LGBT pride and many of the performers are gay. A cover of a love song from a woman to a man becomes a love song from a man to a man, and the same applies for women singing love songs about women. In fact, many performances incorporate themes of gay pride into the performance. The only pronoun changes are the pronouns that refer to the singer's gender.
- Crossover: For the 2005 Easter Bonnet Competition, the casts of Fiddler on the Roof and Avenue Q teamed up for the sketch "Avenue Jew," in which Teyve's family moves to a new neighborhood populated by Jewish puppets.
- Deal with the Devil: In the 2014 Easter Bonnet opening number, Rory O'Malley sings that he'd sell his soul to the devil to win Easter Bonnet. The devil (New York Post theatre critic Michael Reidel) appears and sends Rory on a Scavenger Hunt to bring him some Broadway props in exchange for Easter Bonnet victory. This turns out to be a set-up to frame Rory as a kleptomaniac in Reidel's review of Easter Bonnet, so Rory and the other Broadway cast members bind and gag Reidel as revenge.
- Framing Device: The 2021 virtual Broadway Backwards production set up a story around the filmed performances. A young man named Billy watches a late night show starring Jenn Colella who plays the Broadway Backwards clips on the TV channel and talks directly to Billy to encourage him to love himself.
- Large Ham: Andrew Keenan-Bolger flails his body all over the place and even drops to the floor while singing "The History of Wrong Guys."
- Mood Whiplash: Sketches can vary in tone, so it's quite common for a very funny sketch to be followed by a somber mood piece about the HIV/AIDS crisis. In one instance in the 2021 performance, Ariana DeBose's upbeat performance of "Got a Lot o' Livin' To Do" is juxtaposed with Billy, watching the performance on TV, downing a bunch of pills to cope with his depression, or possibly even trying to kill himself.
- "No Talking or Phones" Warning: An American in Paris's entry for Easter Bonnet 2016 parodies "Turn It Off" from The Book of Mormon telling people to turn off their cell phones.
- Once a Season: The Easter Bonnet and Red Bucket Follies Competitions always end with somebody singing David Friedman's "Help is On the Way."
- Race Lift: The Lion King's sketch for the 2008 Easter Bonnet competition had a leprachaun turn Legally Blonde'' into "Legally Black," with Elle and her friends all played by black actresses and singing gospel.
- Scavenger Hunt: In the 2014 Easter Bonnet opening sketch, Rory O'Malley makes a Deal with the Devil to snatch some Broadway props in exchange for Easter Bonnet victory (as a Shout-Out to the witch's quest in Into the Woods). The list includes the baby Simba from the opening of The Lion King, a newspaper from Newsies, a boot from Kinky Boots, The Book of Arnold from The Book of Mormon, Rocky's boxing gloves from the musical adaptation of Rocky, the lamp from Aladdin, and the French flag from Les Misérables. This gets the members of these Broadway cast members angry at Rory.
- Take That!: In the 2014 Easter Bonnet opening sketch, New York Post theatre critic Michael Reidel is revealed to be the Devil who tricks Rory O'Malley into going on a scavenger hunt just so Reidel can write a bad review of the competition. In response to the trickery, the cast ties Reidel up and sends him away.
- Token Minority: Lampooned in the 2008 "Legally Black" Easter Bonnet sketch, which begins with the black cast members of Legally Blonde celebrating Obama's presidency while remarking on how Broadway does its part by including a single black actor in their main cast. This is defied when a leprechaun turns everybody on Broadway into black actors.
- Uke: The "Avenue Jew" sketch implies that Rod is sexually submissive, as he sings to the matchmaker to "find me a top of my own."
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The Avenue Q sketch in the 2019 Easter Bonnet Competition, the final performance before the show's off-Broadway closure, explained where each character ended up in the future.
- Princeton and Kate got married and opened Monsterssori schools all over the nation.
- Christmas Eve started a mental health podcast called "Ruv Yourself."
- Rod quit his investment banking job to start an antiquing business in New Jersey with Ricky.
- Nicky started a cannabis delivery service.
- Mrs. Thistletwat got a 3D-printed heart.
- Lucy the Slut became a crusader for sex workers' rights.
- Gary Coleman opened an orphanage for unemployed child actors. ("The Ooorphanaaaage!")
- Brian became "the phantom pooper of Ripley-Grier.note "
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The virtual 2021 show has this when Billy has a dream about an actress he admires reassuring him he is fine the way he is.
- Your Television Hates You: Billy, who's struggling with his sexual identity, comes across "The Late Late Show," which features the attractive Jason Momoa talking about protein powder, Chris Pine, Chris Evans, and Chris Pratt getting their makeup done (this bit is marketed to housewives) and an interview where Russell Crowe talks about the downsides of being heterosexual in Hollywood.