[Joan Marcus / Courtesy Saenger Theatre / Broadway Across America]

A 'Wicked' Good Cause at Saenger Theatre

15:00 December 07, 2023
By: Morgan Ruoss

Something Wonderfully Wicked This Way Comes

Christmas Spirit

Wicked has larger goals than just the musical fun, which is a given with any staging of this now-classic Broadway extravaganza.

After the curtain call's final bow, the cast requests audiences linger for a few more moments while they share some words about the mission of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Unlike the show's unfortunate Tin Man, the audiences have had big hearts and donated to the cause generously.

Cast member collects donations and distributes gift bags [Myranda Cook]

The organization has been providing people fighting critical illnesses with support since 1988 when the height of the AIDS epidemic that hit the theatre community especially hard. Over the past 35 years, it is estimated $300 million have been raised for people living with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other chronic illnesses. This money has gone to medical care, counseling, helping those with food insecurity, and financial assistance.

With the help—and talent—of performers belonging to the Actors' Equity Association, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has been a valuable partner in this effort with imploring audiences for their generosity at New York productions as well as touring companies during the past three decades.

"If everyone at the performance donated three dollars, over seven thousand dollars could be raised," said Celia Hottenstein, who did an excellent portrayal of Glinda, addressing the audience along with Elphaba understudy, Marie Eife , who was undeniably great in her performance, earlier this week during their extended run at The Saenger.

Audiences generously kline up to donate and meet cast members [Myranda Cook]

Christmas Present

But the Christmas spirit was not only due to the generosity given to this important cause. The Saenger Theatre's brightly lit Christmas tree pairing with the crowd wearing their holiday best made for a beautiful scene worthy of a Hallmark movie. Despite Wicked not being a Christmas musical, something about it feels right for it during the holiday season.

A "Flying Monkey" welcomes donations benefting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS [Myranda Cook]

Cast members greeted patrons in the Saenger Theatre lobbies after the show to to pose for photos with thrilled fans and personally show their appreciation while collecting donations, adding to the holiday spirit.

Gift bags were available for more generous contributors above $30, and backstage tours were available for donations over $100.

Beyond attending the show during its extended run in New Orleans through December 17, donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS made be made at BroadwayCares.org/WickedTour

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