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BROADWAY BARES 2009: Here
BROADWAY BARES 2008: Here
***PLEASE CLUE ME IN ON NAMES OF ANY UNIDENTIFIED DANCERS***
Last night was the twenty-first annual edition of Broadway Bares and the fourth one in a row I've attended. Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece! snuck up on me; as I was watching it, I was thinking it wasn't my favorite. However, looking back at pictures and videos, it's obvious that there were some stunning numbers in spite of some pretty cringe-worthy humor interludes. In fact, the full-length musicals in which the night's dancers are currently performing should take notes.
We arrived at Roseland to get in line around 9:30PM, so would have our pick of spots once the show let us in two hours later. Jason and I ran into a bunch of his friends, including Clark Kent, "Hey, Jude," and someone who once dated with Truth Wins Out good-fighter Wayne Besen (I guess his ex-, just not an ex-gay). There was a Bares virgin among us (sounds like a Treasure Media title), but the rest of us knew what to expect inside—skin, bawdy humor and opportunities to slip green into pink and/or brown. (Sidebar: Not just saying that—this year's Bares felt remarkably more racially diverse than past installments.)
Let's just look at Rotation here instead of at the end
Just past 11:30PM and after the 9:30PM show's patrons had spilled into the streets looking keyed up and, well, drunk, we filed in and beelined to the far side of the middle runway. I was pleased to be right at the stage, yet I'd later realize my "less good" position in previous years had actually been more desirable—I was so close it was tougher to take pictures and, at times, see thanks to the very sweet but confoundingly non-transparent guy in front of me. Making conversation as a go-go boy doled out ones in exchange for twenties, he asked me if I liked that the dancer was wearing a cock ring.
The sea of horny homos looked like Grindr come to life; I didn't check it inside, but I imagine the first 50 guys on my screen would have been 0 feet away.
The place was teeming with celebrities along with testosterone, including Wilson Cruz (in my group yet too far for me to chat with), John Benjamin Hickey, Nick Adams, BearCity's Joe Conti, entertainer nonpareil Scott Nevins, Jack Plotnick, Jonathan D. Lovitz and probably more.
While waiting for things to begin, we were treated to watching a cute artiste (Keegan Albrecht) painting an image of James Dean, but it was just as fun watching the pre-show T-shirt vendors attempting to steal the dancers' thunder by baring their buns for a determinedly devoted crew at the end of the middle runway.
Number by number:
"Going, Going, Gone" at first underwhelmed me as an opener, but looking back, I think it was pretty classic. Beth Leavel (pictured) belted the number as some of my favorite dancers (and my all-time favorite, Andrew Glaszek) brought to life numerous immediately IDable works of art. There was a Jesus-come-to-life from The Last Supper (that I'm surprised no one has complained about yet—Christ flashes his disciples???) Glaszek was a Norman Rockwell and the segment ended with David Hyde Pierce as The David, complete with one of those cheesy aprons with a silkscreen of The David's body.
I love Andrew not only because he's beautiful (his look is so versatile—he can do Tom of Finland, geek, prepster or muscleman quite easily), but also because like all the best works of art he has depth beyond the immediately arresting surface.
One of two absolute highlights of the show for me was "Washington Crossing the Delaware." First, it's an unusual subject to choose in a show filled with obvious picks. Second, it was accompanied by Billy Squier's "The Stroke"—an inspired choice. Third, it had a rock 'n' roll urgency. But most of all, it starred Joshua Buscher. Buscher always has palpable star power.
This number also included some guys who always turn my head—Adam Fleming (who got a sizzling smooch with Buscher) and John Paul LaPorte.
I spotted Sidney Erik Wright from In Between Men. He's the curly-haired guy who resembles Matthew Rhys from Brothers & Sisters...his butt was deserving of a Best Actor in a Featured Role nod in this scene, and he was also the entire show's assistant choreographer and universal schwing—I mean swing.
"Andy Warhol" was a disappointingly one-note conception—it was limited to a Warhol Judy Garland painting and (extremely hard to hear) recording of "Get Happy" and was peopled by Garland clones.
But what it lacked in imagination it made up for with absolutely gorgeous and leggy female dancers.
"The African Mask" was a spirited tribute to the art of a continent whose art isn't always thought of alongside that of the European masters.
The choreography was stunning and stunningly executed and lead dancer Grasan Kingsberry—playing a black prepster being introduced to his roots—was one of the night's sexiest men.
I think "The Mona Lisa" was bound to receive a thunderous reception considering its male lead, the ever-popular Brandon Rubendall.
The biggest turn-on in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Rubendall is a gifted dancer and exudes personality, not just sex appeal (which he has oozing from every tiny pore).
"Pablo Picasso" was possibly the show's sexiest number, starring the aforementioned Skrincosky, Dave August, Alex Ringler, Justin Smith and several dancers who I need to hunt down. I mean, whose names I need to hunt down.
As simple as it was—gorgeous men fingerpainting all over each other—it was highly erotic and yet playful, as is Skrincosky's specialty.
The feel-good number was "Peter Paul Rubens," stuffed with zaftig (some would even say Rubenesque!) ladies prancing to Mika's "Big Girl You Are Beautiful."
It was fantastic to see some imperfect (who says?) bodies, even if I must admit my focus was on dancers like Guy Bittencourt and Sheldon Tucker, whose bodies were, indeed, perfect.
"René Magritte" followed and was what I would call the second highlight of the show, a dazzlingly choreographed and lighted piece making use of the artist's umbrella motif (think of it as an "Oh, Mary! Poppins") and ascending into one of the best aerial numbers (there's always one) of the four shows I've seen.
One of my other favorite dancers was in this, the obscenely talented James Tabeek. He's a joy to watch. He especially likes the above shot of him lifting Barrett Davis.
A very game Jim Parsons (pictured) and Rory O'Malley did a partially funny skit next before "The Scream." This number featured Reed Kelly who, as usual, was the biggest fundraiser of the year and who pairs his angelic look with a decidedly devilish ability to kick his legs further apart than a Barbie doll with a broken rubber band in her pelvis.
The number trailed off strangely, leading me to wonder if something had gone wrong, but it may have just been my odd angle, which forced me to notice prep work for the next number.
Gotta love the whimsical "Claude Monet," which creatively used the Impressionist's work on sheets to suggest water and lily pads.
La Cage aux Folles star Robin De Jésus Froggered around while avoiding capture by one of the evening's obvious It guys, an aw-shucks Andy Mills. He and his neighbor Brandon Rubendall were absolutely mobbed during Rotation.
"The Sculpture" was just one dude, David Isaac Gray, but you should watch the video to get a taste of how much work must have gone into his number and his body. It was like a horny remake of the silent film The Golem. Impressive.
"Keith Haring" was not as arresting to me as he would have been had he been caught spray-painting the a subway car. It was colorful, but did little over-the-top. It kinda reminded me of Madonna's Sticky & Sweet interpretation. The dancers were, of course, all flawless, though.
I thought the writing was best in a bitchy exchange between Christopher Sieber and Michael Riedel, which called to mind Elizabeth Taylor v. Kim Novak in The Mirror Crack'd.
But overall, I'd still love to offer my free services to come up with some wittier stuff for the book next year; for example, jokes in the show about Anthony Weiner were beyond easy and might have been more uproarious and subversive had they had a supportive bent.
The show's "Final Masterpiece" was a magnetic vocal by Patina Miller, ending with all the dancers lined up on the runways to hear which of them took top honors in raising money and to listen to creator Jerry Mitchell's as-heartfelt-as-usual speech. He gave all credit to director Josh Rhodes and all of the evening's "masterpieces," the men and women who are so often taken for granted in Broadway shows but whose work just as often makes said Broadway shows.
All in all, it was a less star-studded affair (Christopher Sieber, Beth Leavel, Patina Miller, Jim Parsons, Michael Riedel, David Hyde Pierce...I later saw that Judith Light had been onstage at the earlier show only), but artfully satisfying.
After, it was time for "Rotation," when everyone involved struts his or her stuff and accepts moolah in his or her g-string. This is the time when every body becomes a prosti-cute, smiling and seducing in order to raise as much possible last-second cash. They are literally shaking their moneymakers at this point.
I got to give twenties to all my faves—James Tabeek (good kisser, as always), Brandon Rubendall, Mr. Broadway Michael Cusumano (I promised him I wouldn't post the video of a guy surprising him by sticking a dollar bill in his asscrack, but never promised I wouldn't report that it happened), Reed Kelly, Andrew Glaszek and more. However, I struck out by completely missing perennial hotties Skrincosky and Buscher! Luckily, I nabbed the always sweet Skrincosky as he was leaving, which meant I think the only dancer I went in assuming I'd get to greet and didn't was IMHO the star of the whole thing, Mr. Buscher. Next time! (Unfortunately, missing from the entire show were stars of last year like Adam Hart, Sebastian La Cause, John Carroll, Ryan Rubek, Sam Rogers and Kyle DesChamps.)
I did get lots of other pictures with some of the attending stars and some dancers on the way out, including Nick Adams. Finally! I've seen him eating at Energy Kitchen so many times and been unwilling to ask him to pick broccoli out of his teeth to pose with me. He was supersweet, asking me if I had seen and liked Priscilla (I have to tell you I fibbed, Nick...it's not my kind of show, but you're still my kind of actor and I'm glad for all the success I knew you'd have ever since I first read about you during The Great Mario Lopez Bicep Incident). He told me he'd actually had even more fun watching the show than performing in it, leading me to believe it might be a while before he drops trou in BB for us again.
It's hard to just leave Broadway Bares, even when Broadway Bares is over, so it's kind of the security people to physically assist once you've overstayed your welcome...and then some!
More Rotation shots...starting with just scenes of hotness:
Me with the talent:
And finally...THE END!
Produced by & benefiting: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Lighting design: Philip S. Rosenberg
Projection design: Brian Beasley, Michael Clark, Aaron Rhyne, Daniel Robinson
Scenic design: Mary Houston
Costume coordination: Craig Lowry
Hair & wig coordination: Daniel Koye
Make-up design & coordination: The M.A.C. Pro Team
Sound design: ACME Sound Partners
Production manager: Nathan Hurlin
Production stage manager: Jennifer Rogers
Producers: Michael Graziano, Kimberly Russell
Choreographers: Armando Farfan Jr., James Harkness, Nick Kenkel, Dontee Kiehn, Stephanie Lang, Melissa Rae Mahon, Barry Morgan, Rachelle Rak, Josh Rhodes, Jon Rua, Michael Lee Scott, Mark Stuar, Lee Wilkins
Associate director: Lee Wilkins
Director: Josh Rhodes
Executive producer: Jerry Mitchell
Presented by: M.A.C. Viva Glam
Sponsors: 1-800-Postcards, Absolut Vodka, aussieBum, CAA, Club H Fitness, Element New York Times Square West, Get Gay Chauffeur, Here Media, LOGO, The New York Times, Next Magazine, PMD Promotion, Showtime Networks, United Airlines, Zarley Family Foundation
Dancers: Chip Abbott, Cesar Abreu, Scott Ahearn, Meredith Atkins, John Alix, Megan Allen, Matt Anctil, Sara Andreas, Beckley Andrews, Sara Antkowiak-Maier, Michael Apuzzo, Ashley Arcement, Dave August, Heather Lea Blair, Sean Baptiste, Jim Becker, Alec Bell, Danielle Hannah Bensky, Samantha Berger, Guto Bittencourt, Christina Black, Michael Blatt, Thomas Bradfield, Mo Brady, Steve Bratton, Giselle Lorenz Brock, Summer Broyhill, Larry Bullock, Joshua Buscher, Daniel Byrd, Sam J. Cahn, Danny Calvert, Allyson Carr, Katie Cass, Kristy Cavanaugh, Anthony CeFala, Adam Chandler, Andrew Chappell, Olivia Cipolla, Rosie Colosi, David Contreras, Kevin Covert, Gabriel Croom, Chris Crowthers, Holly Cruz, Nicholas Cunningham, Michael Cusumano, Christine Danelson, Taryn Darr, Barrett Davis, Anthony Decarlis, Kristin DeCesare, Robin De Jésus, Zachary Denison, Robert Lee Dillard, Mark Donaldson, Michelle Dowdy, Jennifer Dunne, Yurel Echezaretta, Trevor Effinger, Hillary Elliott, Alex Ellis, Lynann Escatel, Daniel Lynn Evans, Armando Farfan Jr., Wilkie Ferguson, Rosie Lani Fiedelman, Russell Fischer, Adam Fleming, Andrea Fornarola, Jen Frankel, Danielle Froelich, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Leah Gerstel, Stephanie Gibson, Greer Gisy, Andrew Glaszek, David Gray, Jessica Green, Katy Grenfell, Jenny Gruby, Tony Guerrero, Scott Guthrie, Aaron Hamilton, Elinor Harrison, Afra Hines, Daxfurth Houston, Timothy Hughes, Lauren Lim Jackson, Laura Johnson, Naomi Kakuk, Lisa Karlin, Laura Keller, Reed Kelly, Nick Kenkel, Grasan Kingsberry, Stephanie Klemons, Caitlin Krause, Christopher Michael Lacey, Anton Harrison Lamon, Leah Landau, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, John Paul LaPorte, Marina Lazzaretto, Kenny Lear, Allison Thomas Lee, Adam Lendermon, Aaron J. Libby, Ryan Lyons, Karl Maier, Nalina Mann, Renee Marino, Danny Marr, Gina Mazzarella, Patrick McCollum, Richard Meeker, Kaitlin Mesh, Chris Messina, Brant Michaels, Denise Marie Miller, Andy Mills, Marla Mindelle, Brian Patrick Murphy, Peter Nelson, Melissa Oropesa, Ryan Overberg, Kate Pazakis, Brandon Pereyda, Adam Perry, Marissa Perry, William Michael Peters, Annie Petersmeyer, Kristin Piro, Meghan Pool, Jessica Press, Alexander Quiroga, Eddie Rabon, Matthew Ragas, Antuan Raimone, John Raterman, Madeline Reed, Ian M. Richardson, Alex Ringler, Robbie Roby, Mark Roland, Marissa Rosen, Brandon Rubendall, Celia Mei Rubin, Julius Anthony Rubio, Naomi Rusalka, Mike Russo, Alison Ryan, Amy Ryerson, Marcos Santana, Kimberly Schafer, Rashidra Scott, Shanna Sharp, Ray Sheen, Laurie Sheppard, Robb Sherman, Evan Siegel, Matthew Skrincosky, Michaeljon Slinger, George Smallwood, Alexandra C. Smith, Justin Smith, Beau Speer, Derek St. Pierre, Meghan Starr, Taylor Sternberg, Molly Winter Stewart, Gregory Stockbridge, Chad Stone, Sarrah Strimel, Mark Stuart, Charlie Sutton, James Tabeek, Ricky Tripp, Sheldon Tucker, Laura Volpacchio, Ryan Watkinson, Alena Watters, Anthony Wayne, Katie Webber, Micki Weiner, Steven Wenslawski, Kristen Beth Williams, Randy Witherspoon, Jacob Wood, Jody Cole Wood, Ryan Worsing, Samantha Zack