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B'Way Flea And Auction Wows Fans For Good Cause

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From Ricky Martin's shirt to a lunch date with Angela Lansbury, theater fans on Sunday were looking to give their regards to Broadway at the annual Flea Market and Grand Auction. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.

Broadway stars and their stage props came out of the theaters Sunday and into the streets of the Theater District. The 26th annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction gives fans a chance to make a lasting connection with favorite shows and favorite actors.

The outdoor event features live and silent auctions, exclusive backstage access and the chance to take home a piece of the theater.

"When the audience comes they are the collaborator. To have the audience there, to come in and for us to mingle with them is wonderful," said Actress Bebe Neuwirth.

"You're entering their world, being able to bring some things you've seen on stage home with you. It's more of an emotional thing," said one Broadway fan.

The wow factor items this year included the chance to meet Barbra Streisand, taking home a shirt Ricky Martin wore for Evita and lunch with Broadway icon Angela Lansbury.

"The Angela Lansbury lunch is kind of special. You can just sit and have lunch with a legend. How many people get to do that?" said Actor and Auction Host John Bolton.

For fans looking for a more reasonable price point there was an autographed chimney
sweep from Mary Poppins and a chance to find a memorable Playbill. For many, the event is not to be missed.

"I just buy a whole bunch of stuff every year. My whole room is cluttered. It's just awesome. It's our favorite thing. It's like Christmas," said one Broadway fan.

The event is sponsored by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

"Poverty and disease and unfairness are constant enemies. If you have the chance to do something about it why wouldn't you do that?" said Actress Tyne Daly.

"Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS funds over 500 AIDS & family service organizations across the country that encourages people in all 50 states and NYC to get treatment, to get tested. Treatment as prevention is the most important aspect of the epidemic," said Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola.

To date, the event has raised $9.1 million. It's also morphed into an impressive production, considering 26 years ago there were just two tables.

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