It's Showtime for Grey

Agency Readies Memorabilia to Join Fundraising at Annual Broadway Flea Market

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Grey, New York, will be joining the stars and crews of the New York theater world this weekend to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and the Actors Fund at the 24th annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction.

The market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, takes place in Shubert Alley, which will be closed to traffic between west 45th and 44th streets for the day. Crews and cast members from dozens of shows, theatrical unions and guilds, and others will put together a bazaar, selling costume pieces, original scripts, signed playbills and old recordings. In addition, the event features a celebrity autograph booth and the Grand Auction, which offers bidders the opportunity to win walk-on roles in Broadway shows, TV programs and films.

Grey is the only agency that participates in the fundraising event because it's the only New York agency that still has a casting department, according to Jerry Saviola, Grey's senior VP-director, casting. "Grey has four casting directors here, so we see the actors all the time," he says. "I like being part of a community. I really enjoy the people in casting, the writers, the producers—we're really all part of the family."

The agency, which has participated in the last five or six flea markets, has been working hard to put together an assortment of theater memorabilia to offer at its table. Among those items will be old playbills, vinyl recordings, scripts and biographies. "This year I'm really excited because we've had three monster donations of signed playbills," Saviola says. "Also, I went through my files and found a lot of head sheets on celebrities who weren't celebrities [at the time] but are now--Sigourney Weaver, Matthew Broderick."

Grey is also offering 20-by-30-inch copies of playbills. "These are beautiful, beautiful colorful blowups," Saviola says. "They're signed by all of the actors in the play." Among the signed posters are pieces from "Hair," "A Little Night Music" and "The Addams Family."

Last year, $403,229 was raised at the flea market and auction for Broadway Cares, an industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. It funds the social service work of the Actors Fund and awards grants twice a year to AIDS service organizations nationwide. Since the flea market began in 1987, it has raised almost $8.2 million for the organization.

"Initially we did it to participate in something with the actors who we see up here all the time," Saviola says. "We do it now because it's a terrific opportunity for the people who work here to do something that's really a lot of fun and also productive. It's a celebration; it's kind of funky, and it gets really crazy. It's a great activity--we love doing it."

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