What could be better than watching the philanthropic Keenan-Bolger family raising money for charity? Watching the Keenan-Bolgers and Tony nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul raising money for charity with cookies!
Schmakary’s, the Theatre District’s favorite bakery, became a star-studded Broadway red carpet with the Broadway Bakes fundraiser to celebrate the cookie company’s first birthday. Favorite Broadway stars (including Santino Fontana, Rob McClure, Stephanie J. Block,
Laura Osnes, Jeremy Jordan and others) donated their time to sell cookies behind the Schmackary’s counter to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. As I headed toward the bakery, I was ushered inside by Benj, who was reaching out to people on the sidewalk in hopes of leading them into the bakery to buy cookies.
The bakery was bustling with eager fans and friends who had come out to support the cause. I was greeted at the counter by a beaming Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger who sold me the best green tea cookie of my life. The positive energy of doing good work for a great organization was tangible as more customers and acquaintances passed in and out of the bakery full of smiles. The “tip song” serenades when a donation was made things that even more fun. After all, how often do fans stumble into the privilege of hearing a Broadway star sing live right in front of them? (Outside of a theatre, of course.)
Adam Chanler-Berat made a surprise appearance that day and I hung out for a while and took in what an afternoon in fundraising looks like as Adam helped Benj draw in new customers. These two guys were definitely champions for a great cause while they stood outside in the humidity and tried to talk with anyone who would listen.
The kindness and camaraderie that lives within the Broadway community is something very special and it is the most apparent when actors come together for a great cause like this one. Here’s hoping that Schmackary’s celebrates its second birthday in a similar way!