By Byrne Harrison
Far from its humble beginnings in 1992, when seven dancers stripped at a downtown bar and raised $8,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, this year's Broadway Bares XX: Strip-opoly made history by raising $1,015,985 to benefit BC/EFA, marking the first time that the $1 million dollar mark was reached. This goal was set in January by Broadway Bares creator and executive producer, Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.
This year’s total shatters the previous fundraising record which was set in 2008 when $874,000 was raised. To date, the 20 editions of Broadway Bares have raised more than $7.5 million for BC/EFA.
Jerry Mitchell said in a statement, “Some people thought it couldn’t be done, especially in today’s economy, but we did. . . I couldn’t imagine a more spectacular way to celebrate 20 editions of Broadway Bares for Broadway Cares.”
The evening featured the work of 15 choreographers and 216 of the sexiest male and female dancers from Broadway’s biggest shows baring nearly all to benefit BC/EFA. A $150,000 check from M·A·C Viva Glam was presented to BC/EFA by M·A·C’s Senior Vice President Jennifer Balbier who also saluted the extraordinary skills of 93 M·A·C make-up artists who worked on the show.
Highlights from this year’s Broadway Bares XX: Strip-opoly included:
· Kristin Chenoweth, Euan Morton, and Vanessa Williams performing the side-splitting opening number “The Best Game in Town” by David Nehls (The Great American Trailer Park Musical) which featured Chenoweth and Williams rising on a bright red swing over the adoring crowd.
· Joshua Buscher showed off tremendous assets and an amazing stimulus package as the featured strip in “The Bank.”
· Special guest appearances were made by Lucy Liu on behalf of “the community chest,” while Jackie Hoffman sent Katie Finneran “directly to jail” for stealing scenes, referencing her Tony-winning performances in both Promises, Promises and Noises Off.
· Felicia Finley and Rachelle Rak turned the heat up on “Connecticut Avenue” as a Stepford wife introduced to the community’s new, rowdy neighbor.
· The crowd went wild over the “Boardwalk” which featured Broadway actors playing the cast of the hit MTV show “Jersey Shore” including Jennifer Cody as ‘Snookie’ and John Carroll as ‘The Situation.’
· Broadway Bares XX poster boy Charlie Williams appeared as an attentive bell hop who ended up in only a wash-cloth when repeatedly answering the call for “more towels, please” from statuesque hotel guests, played by some of La Cage Aux Folles’ Cagelles.
· Kyle DesChamps and a host of hot inmates lost their stripes and turned the tables on their warden, played by Bares favorite Sebastian LaCause in “Go to Jail.”
· Vocal powerhouses Alysha Umphress and Diana DiGarmo grabbed the spotlight from dozens of nearly naked dancers with their dynamic renditions of Journey’s “Lights” and Queen’s “Play the Game,” the event’s grand finale.
· Choreographer Nick Kenkel showcased his racy hip-hop moves on two teams of high-speed dancers in “Pass Go.”
· On “Orient Avenue,” The Living Art of Armando stopped the show with dazzling acrobatics high above the crowd.
· A finale that showcased celebrities and iconic dancers from the previous 19 editions of Broadway Bares that culminated with Jerry Mitchell taking the stage in the tribal head dress and loincloth he wore as ‘The Indian of The Dawn’ from 1992’s The Will Rogers Follies, the performance on a tom-tom that inspired Broadway Bares.
For more information on Broadway Bares and the other marvelous fundraisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, please visit the BC/EFA website.
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