Hits Record-Breaking $315,200
for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
May 14, 2019. Broadway’s biggest names, legendary theatre insiders and devoted fans donned their best poker faces on May 13, 2019, to help those in need at this year’s spirited and record-breaking edition of Broadway Bets (#BroadwayBets). The lively evening of Texas Hold ’em raised an astounding $315,200 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The full house buzzed with luminaries from across the industry, including theatre owners, producers, general managers, actors, theatrical advertising agency executives and professional poker players. Among the stars of stage and screen upping the ante as players were six-time Emmy Award winner Hank Azaria (TV’s The Simpsons), Eric Bogosian (TV’s Billions, Talk Radio), Nicholas Braun (TV’s Succession), Emmy nominee Josh Charles (TV’s The Good Wife), Robert Creighton (Frozen), Tony winner Billy Crudup (Harry Clarke), Tony nominee Richard Kind (TV’s American Dad!), two-time Tony nominee and Oscar winner Steve Martin (Meteor Shower), “The Gist” podcast host Mike Pesca, founder and editor-
in-chief of FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver, Nick Wyman (Network) and Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (The Cradle Will Rock, City Center’s A Chorus Line). They were joined by poker pros Andy Frankenberger, Maria Konnikova and Erik Seidel.
Other stars also joining in on the Broadway Bets fun were To Kill a Mockingbird 2019 Tony nominees Jeff Daniels, Gideon Glick and Celia Keenan-Bolger, cast mates Gbenga Akinnagbe and Dakin Matthews and the play’s Oscar- and Emmy-winning writer, Aaron Sorkin; Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz (Burn This) and Emmy-winning actor and comedian Mike Myers.
This year’s Broadway Bets started with 28 Texas Hold ’em poker tables and 280 card players filling two floors of the iconic Sardi’s restaurant in NYC’s theatre district. It culminated with 12 players perfecting their poker faces to reach the championship table.
The ultimate face-off featured Elliot Greene, executive vice president of The Shubert Organization, and actor Ted Koch (To Kill a Mockingbird). Surrounded by an energetic crowd, both players went “all in” after rounds of intense play. Ultimately, Greene was crowned Broadway Bets champion when he bested Koch with a pair of queens. As winner, Greene received four days and three nights for two at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, including airfare, hotel and show tickets.
The final table also featured, in order of finish: Lisa Guzman, associate general manager of Foresight Theatrical; actor Aaron Jackson; Rob Hinderliter, producer and co-founder of R&D Theatricals; actor Tony Yazbeck; poker pro Andy Frankenberger; actor Audrey Federici; Rich Jaffe, co-CEO, Theatre Division & CMO of Broadway Across America; David Lazar, executive vice president of Trafalgar Entertainment, Kelly Shoemaker, account executive at The Shubert Organization; and actor Steve Martin.
Last year’s event raised a then-record of $295,100. The five editions of Broadway Bets have raised a total of $1,264,050 for Broadway Cares.
The “Royal Flush” bar sponsor for this year’s event was Broadway hit To Kill a Mockingbird, which was just nominated for nine Tony Awards.
“Full House” table sponsors were AKA, The Araca Group, Entertainment Benefits Group, Foresight Theatrical, The John Gore Organization (Broadway.com, Broadway Across America), Jujamcyn Theaters, The Nederlander Organization, Network, The Pekoe Group, The Prom, The Road Company, Serino Coyne, The Shubert Organization, Situation Interactive, SpotCo, Sweet Hospitality Group, Ticketmaster, What the Constitution Means to Me and Willkie, Farr & Gallagher. “Two Pair” half-table sponsors included Ambassador Theatre Group, BROADWai, Disney Theatrical Productions, Independent Presenters Network and Satisfi Labs.
Broadway Bets’ founding co-chairs are Paul Libin, president emeritus of the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Board of Trustees and executive vice president emeritus of Jujamcyn Theaters, and Robert E. Wankel, president and co-CEO of The Shubert Organization and president of the Broadway Cares Board of Trustees. Micah Hollingworth of BROADWai, Mark Shacket of Foresight Theatrical and Brett Sirota of The Road Company returned as tournament directors.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, at facebook.com/BCEFA, at instagram.com/BCEFA, at twitter.com/BCEFA and at youtube.com/BCEFA.
Photo by Daniel T Gramkee