Sing for Hope proudly held our first booth at the annual Broadway Flea Market this fall, in the form of the ultra-popular Playbill Sing for Hope Piano. While the day also raises crucial support for Broadway Cares‘ expansive work, and gives Broadway fans a rare opportunity to take home a piece of the stage with them (literally) or meet their Broadway idols, it hadn’t previously included many opportunities for fans to participate musically. Sing for Hope was more than happy to change that, giving the Broadway fans who come out in droves a chance not just to bid for pieces of the stage and to meet those who frequent it, but to have a stage themselves.
We’re fairly certain that the Sing for Hope Piano never went untouched for all eight hours of the market, and if it was hard to spot given the throngs of Broadway Flea attendees surrounding it, you could simply follow the sound. From Les Miserables, to RENT, Frozen, and Be More Chill, Broadway fans and stars alike applied their encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater repertoire to a cathartic vocal break from the chaos of the day. Rest assured, you could hear it from blocks away: the impromptu community singalongs attracted such attention that Broadway legends took notice, and Josh Groban posted a video on his Instagram of the Sing for Hope booth’s rendition of “The Abduction,” from The Great Comet of 1812. Over 80,000 people have watched it since.
One teenage girl celebrated her 16th birthday by stunning the crowd with Waitress’ “It Used to Be Mine,” while “Seasons of Love” reminded us that an unrehearsed crowd of New Yorkers can be quite adept at four-part harmony. One of many, highlights, though, was when four matinee-bound young girls in full Frozen costume stopped by the booth to be their own pre-show entertainment. The Sing for Hope team invited the girls front and center and quickly found them a pianist. The four litle Annas and Elsas led the crowd in “Let it Go,” “Do you Want to be a Snowman,” and “For the First Time in Forever,” unexpectedly granted a Broadway moment of their own.
Members of the crowd sent messages days later proclaiming, “I’m still crying!” and “that was one of the greatest moments of the whole Flea!” The girls’ families also ended the Frozen medley emotional, telling the Sing for Hope team, “THANK YOU. We brought the girls into the city excited to see Frozen, but this moment, singing out here with all these people, is what they’ll remember when they’re old.”
Two talented “Young Allisons” from White Plains Performing Arts Center’s production of Fun Home sang “Welcome to the Fun Home.”
The annual Broadway Cares / Equity Fight Aids (BCEFA) Broadway Flea market is essentially Broadway fans’ Christmas, with a charitable result (a win-win, truly). Broadway stars, theater world vendors, organizations, and fans convene on Shubert Alley and the full length of 44th and 45th streets (between 7th and 8th avenues) to meet and purchase rare Broadway merchandise, all to fund BCEFA’s lifesaving health and social service work across the US. Sing for Hope plans to support BCEFA’s incredible work and bring an open stage to the streets of the Broadway Flea for many years to come!