My third Broadway Bares, directed by Josh Rhodes and assistant director Lee Wilkins and produced by Jerry Mitchell with a Monopoly theme, was the best yet even if the star power was not as jaw-dropping as one might expect for a 20th anniversary show—no matter, because who the fuck cares about Missy Tony Winner when you've got a stage filled with the country's best, brightest and nakedest Broadway dancers? The night was like one big no-handed edging session. I'm not sure if the experience is untoppable, but if it isn't, it's definitely a power bottom in sequins.
Jason and I (pictured, above) showed up at 10:35 last night to line up for the midnight show, only to find the line snaking out of Roseland and about three-quarters of the way to 53rd already. It was already a gay-list day—not only did I spot both Leslie Jordan and Paolo Andino on Ninth Avenue, but I got all blogged down by brunching with Kenneth from Kenneth in the (212) and running into Jesse Archer, Joe Jervis (pictured), Jared Eng and Andy Towle at BB. See, not all bloggers spend their lives in the pajamas...though I'm in mine as I type this. Hmmm.
They let us in around 11:30, whereupon we made a beeline for the middle, settling on the inside edge of stage right. It was packed and quite warm (a 90-degree day had preceded) but not too bad. I feel terrible for the cute guy adhered to me from the front (I felt bad, but he felt good) because my camera must have poked him 200 times later on. I saw some of the usual pervs—myself included—many of whom pop up in my videos from previous years.
The show started 20 minutes late, but it unfolded at whiplash pace. Dapper Euan Morton (so brilliant eons ago in Taboo) kicked off the opening number "The Best Game in Town" in a top hat and tails a good little monopolist, introducing us to the lovely ladies who stood in for the iconic game pieces. Each and every one was described in sexually suggestive ways, even the wheelbarrow—you can guess what she's capable of carrying away.
With no build-up, he introduced the biggest stars of the night, the resurging Vanessa Williams (don't even dream that she would be dumb enough to get naked again) and everybody's favorite Christian Broadway bombshell Kristin Chenoweth. The ladies were on point and suitably glam, sporting nice gams.
Josh's entrance (the other one is available to view here.)
Joshua Buscher, a West Side Story dancer in possession of (this must be official somewhere?) the greatest white behind on the Great White Way was someone I picked out last year as a dazzler; this year, he starred in a show-stopping number called "The Bank" set to Lady GaGa's "Money Honey" (OMG, or was he copying Madonna???) that culminated with him dancing totally nude while basically wearing two male peers. It was a well-tailored fit.
If you want all the minutiae about what the ladies accomplished this year, you might need to search for a Girl Culture blog; I love women, but I was so boycrazy I fear I will not do justice to the female-driven numbers. I do know that soon after a rowdy lipstick-lezzie lingerie number called "Connecticut Avenue", a talented, black-bustiered female Alysha Umphress crooned Journey's "When the Lights Go Down in the City" so well that I do hope someone went down on her after the show.
God of Carnage babe Lucy Liu emerged to introduce her boobs ("I call this one 'Itty' because it's a little bit smaller") and to remind us that she's never hosted The View. I don't think she had much chemistry with her co-star, Big Gay Italian Wedding's Reichen Lehmkuhl, but it's okay—Reichen is such a list of textbook desirable traits for some that he's capable of asexual reproduction. (And I loved his coin-trinketed Speedo with matching wristbands.)
One of the best choreographed numbers (by Nick Kenkel) was "Pass Go," featuring male and female dancers in a sort of tribute to I think a race track or gas station ...I'm an idiot for not recognizing the title of the very well known song, but I'm hoping someone will help me out: whose moves were set to the pitch-perfect "Shut Up and Drive" by Rihanna. Loved the ass-wriggling contempt.
Monopoly's railroads were sent up with a line of men choo-chooing across the stage as clothes disappeared to the strains of classic striptease music you might've heard Gypsy Rose Lee disrobing to...except with less peen peeks.
The "Orient Avenue" number was probably the most beautiful, pulsating with red lights and black tattoos (not to mention sheer red pants giving glimpses of black jockstraps). The women were exquisite with their fans, but I'm sure the crowd was filled with fans of the men who writhed on what resembled a giant Oriental lamp as it dangled them above the stage.
I think my favorite number overall—because it had humor, hot people, brilliant choreography and was topical without being too expected—was "Boardwalk," the memorable send-up of Jersey Shore. The place was really hip-hoppin' for the lead guy John Carroll—a much cuter quotation of The Situation, then lost it when Jennifer Cody, a much cuter version of Snooki, emerged, only to get cold-cocked, leading to a sensational slow-mo punch-out. Unlike that tease The Situation, The Fake Situation got totally naked for us. And the only ones juiced were those of us in the audience.
A drag-powered "Ring My Bell" starred Charlie Williams an adorably dirty bellhop who brought not only more towels but many more naked derrieres, servicing the room for what would be hefty tips later on.
Katie Finneran with the incomparable Jackie Hoffman (lately of the comparable The Addams Family) killed in their bit, in which Hoffman arrested Finneran for soliciting sex ("Sex??? This is the theater district. People just give me a hundred bucks to try on my pretty dress!") and for theft, accusing her of stealing Promises, Promises night after night. Hoffman played up her distress at not getting a Tony nomination, baring her red bra and shouting, "Take that, Tony committee!"
I've been a special patron of the Go To Jail Boys—their number was the most high-concept and high-artsy despite using low-artsy "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns 'n' Roses to help communicate their scenario of a hapless jailbird (impossibly cute Kyle DesChamps) being seduced by his lothario warden (impossibly sexy Sebastian La Cause). With dancers like Eddie Rabon, Andrew Glaszek, Alfie, Adam Fleming and Adam Hart just to name a few, who'd want to get out of this jail free?
The water-cooler number had to be the classical, all-in ode to water sports, complete with his dancers spraying him and us (with water, I hope!) from hoses between their legs (the other ones).
The show went out on the Nicole Kidman version of a Marilyn Monroe/Madonna's version of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"/"Material Girl" before perky, bedazzled Diana DeGarmo took the stage—when did she become a Rosie Perez for the new generation?—to announce the show was kind of over.
"Kind of" because we still had to listen to all the well-deserved accolades for those dancers who'd raised the most money (Clay Aiken's BF Reed Kelly made over $40,000, breaking the record).
Finally, special guests were paraded onto the stage including Christopher Sieber, Charles Busch, Alan Cumming, Cheyenne Jackson, Lea Delaria and Nick Adams (I did not see Jane Krakowski or some of the others who'd been announced previously) and rotation began.
Lucky me, I was in the shadow of Reichen Lehmkuhl (who seemed a little embarrassed—at first—with no reason to be, oy), a gorgeous young guy John Paul LaPorte squatting in a jockstrap (always a good look...I was caught in the eye of the storm) and Sebastian La Cause, who—like all of the Go To Jail and other dancers I snagged—graciously posed for a picture with sweaty, disheveled Matthew.
Rotation was a madhouse, but I got you as much video (part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here) and as many photos as humanly possible. It was a pleasure to see so many of my Broadway crushes under the same roof and under the same clothing restrictions; my wallet shot its load over and over. Some of the guys are better than others at the whole instant go-go boy thing, but one stand-out had to be the Italian prince who was handing out (lipping out?) sweet kisses in exchange for whatever paper currency you cared to stuff in his Speedos. Like Joshua Buscher told me, they came to feel like wearing diapers they were so overstuffed with ones, fives, tens and beyond.
It was good, clean, dirty fun—another great Broadway Bares.