The 23rd edition of the consistently sold-out annual show celebrated America's fruited plains and mountains majesties with a host of spectacular stripteases. As more than 6,000 people packed Roseland Ballroom for two performances on June 23 they discovered and uncovered beach babes in California, a sexy Chicago speakeasy, sassy sister wives and a nearly naked groom in Utah, a sensual under sea adventure in Maine, rowdy cheerleaders riding stripped down Texas cowboys and more.
With this year’s record total, the 23 editions of BROADWAY BARES have now raised more than $11.3 million for Broadway Cares. Last year’s 22nd edition of BROADWAY BARES raised $1,254,176. BROADWAY BARES started in 1992 and featured seven dancers stripping on a bar, raising about $8,000.
This year’s edition of BROADWAY BARES was directed by Nick Kenkel (Catch Me If You Can, Peepshow, Legally Blonde). BROADWAY BARES was created by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots)who serves as executive producer. It was produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS led by Producing Director Michael Graziano.
Max von Essen and Michael Cusumano portrayed a bi-coastal couple who set out on separate, sexy journeys through a dozen states. The electrifying performances they encountered in BROADWAY BARES 23: UNITED STRIPS OF AMERICA included:
- An opening number that transformed the classic beauty pageant into a sexy drag show fantasy with two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber and Lesli Margherita (Matilda The Musical) serving as co-hosts each revealing a decidedly naughty side. For the third year, the opening was written by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar (Elf, The Wedding Singer). Kenkel choreographed the number.
- A trio of beautiful bikini-clad babes turned a quiet day at a California beach into a high-energy party, much to the chagrin of a by-the-book lifeguard, played by Daniel Robinson (Hairspray). After saving drowning damsel-in-distress Allyson Carr(Mamma Mia!) from "shark-infested" waters in the Derek Mitchell-choreographed number, the lifeguard lightened up – and loosened up – until he was left holding only a strategically placed rescue buoy.
- Broadway veteran Jim Newman (Hands on a Hardbody) found himself in stripped-down trouble with his sassy sister wives when he tried heading down the aisle with a new bride. Choreographed by Michael Lee Scott, the comedic number poked fun at fabled two, three, four and five-timing Utah men.
- Grammy nominee and American Idol runner-up Adam Lambertmade a surprise appearance at the midnight show, delivering a roof-raising rendition of the national anthem that led into a gritty, Georgia-based military boot camp number choreographed by Jon Rua. A host of muscled men in fatigues, led by Julius C. Carter (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), used each other as weights before stripping down to white cotton shorts and dancing a racy and bouncing version of barrack calisthenics.
- A lost night in Las Vegas had von Essen falling victim to a beautiful hustler. After hitting it big at the craps table, his evening, cleverly choreographed by Al Blackstone, included surprise encounters with Siegfried and Roy, a buxom female Elvis impersonator and a mesmerizing illusionist. The forgetful night ended with von Essen ended wearing nothing but a tight set of handcuffs and a well-positioned money bag.
- A Latin-influenced ballroom dance championship in Miami revealed a fiery competitiveness as couples vied for the trophy. Choreographed by Marcos Santana, the series of one ups-manship turned into a hair-pulling fight between the ladies that ended with a handsome duo finding a steamy salsa dance for themselves more to their liking.
- A bevy of bosomy cheerleaders lusting after three deliciously hunky cowboys showed that everything really is bigger in Texas in a boot-scooting, bare-bottomed boogie choreographed by Peter Gregus.
- A legendary mermaid lured ship captain Ryan Worsing (Chicago) into the sensual waters off the Maine coast as 10 muscular men created the ocean's tides in a hypnotic, underwater striptease choreographed by Paul McGill.
- Timothy Hughes (Chaplin)portrayed a randy drum major leading an all-male Nebraska marching band through its paces in a number choreographed by Mark Myars and ending with a flying human fireworks display, created by Armando Farfan Jr. and his aerial troupe The Living Art of Armando, and a ground-based picnic celebration choreographed by Marc Kimelman.
On their respective road trips, von Essen and Cusumano each had unexpected "rest stop encounters." Cusumano ran into a Texas version of 2013 Tony Award winner Billy Porter, wearing a pair of red cowboy boots he described as “kinky.” Von Essen was propositioned by Tony winner Alan Cumming, a fanny pack-wearing Tea Partier quoting Macbeth while looking for love in all the wrong places.
Rock of Ages' Kate Rockwell tore up a fiery rendition of “I Drove All Night,” surrounded by three sensual couples eager to make it home, expressively choreographed by Wes Veldink.
Motown the Musical's Eric LaJuan Summersand Tony-nominated Charl Brown brought the show to its patriotic finale, singing a soulful combination of Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America” and James Brown’s “Living in America.” To close the evening, Sieber led the show’s famous “rotation” where the entire cast appears on stage to receive individual tips from audience members.
In all, 13 extraordinarily talented choreographers contributed to the evening's numbers.
A pre-show performance by The Skivvies (Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina) provided a mash-up of more than a dozen Americana-themed songs.
Judith Light, this year's Tony Award-winner for Featured Actress in Play for her role in The Assembled Parties, saluted the dancers and applauded the event's sponsors. A longtime friend and supporter of BC/EFA, Light reminded the audience: “Safe sex is hot sex. And we can best love each other by always remembering to protect each other.”
Presenting sponsor M•A•C VIVA GLAM delivered a $250,000 check, presented by M•A•C senior make-up artist Fatima Thomas, on behalf of Nancy Mahon, M•A•C senior vice president and executive director of the M•A•C AIDS Fund. Thomas saluted the extraordinary skills of 70 M•A•C make-up artists who volunteered on the show.
BROADWAY BARES is the hotly anticipated annual event combining the naughtiness of burlesque and the razzle-dazzle of Broadway. The 2013 edition was held at Roseland Ballroom (239 West 52nd Street), with two performances on Sunday, June 23. Photos and video from the show will be available soon on broadwaycares.org and broadwaybares.com.
The presenting sponsor of BROADWAY BARES 23: UNITED STRIPS OF AMERICA is M·A·C VIVA GLAM and the event is generously sponsored by United Airlines.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at broadwaycares.org, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA, watch us on YouTube at youtube.com/BCEFAtv, pin us on Pinterest at pinterest.com/BCEFA and tag us on Instagram at instagram.com/BCEFA.
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