Broadway fans who have always wanted to be on the receiving end of one of the Phantom of the Opera’s “far too many notes” can do so at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, an annual extravaganza of Broadway memorabilia held in Midtown Manhattan.
Phantom is one of many shows selling used props every September at the flea market in Shubert Alley/West 44th Street, and props are not all that the market has to offer.
Fans can root through tables run by shows and theatre-related organizations for old and/or rare playbills and cast recordings, t-shirts and magnets from shows long closed, decorative items made by the various casts, and much more. There are also baked goods, usually at the tables of shows with kids in the cast.
For much of the day, stars sit at an autograph table set up at Junior’s Restaurant. At the auction, fans can bid on things like autographed sheet music, opening night tickets, lunches with stars, and walk on roles in shows.
The market started in 1987 when cast members of A Chorus Line set up tables outside of their stage door to raise money for friends with HIV/AIDS. It has since expanded, and the money raised benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which supports health organizations across the country. Over the last 30 years, the event has raised $12.6 million.
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