David Hyde Pierce, Jim Parsons, Half-Naked Dancers Help Broadway Bares Rake In Million-Dollar Windfall
(Washington Crossing the Delaware routine @ Roseland)
Sunday night reminded us of why we love New York so much: After spending the day getting poked and spanked at Folsom Street East, we headed over to Roseland Ballroom to catch Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece, the amazing and risque Broadway burlesque benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Bringing together some of the sexiest performers on Broadway—plus top producers and choreographers—director Josh Rhodes and executive producer by Bares originator Jerry Mitchell presented mindboggling numbers based on well-known works of art. If we'd known paintings were so sexy, we'd be spending a lot more time at the museum!
From the VIP balcony and waved hello to Michael Musto, John Benjamin Hickey, 2(x)ist creative director Jason Scarlatti and reality-TV star Reichen Lehmkuhl. Moments later we were shoulder to shoulder with Nick Adams. "Shouldn't that perfect body of yours be on stage performing?" we asked bluntly. " I moved to New York six years ago from Boston and this is the first year not actually performing in it. Being in the audience is a totally different take—I'm here to show support, because it's such a great a crucial cause." We congratulated him on his success in the hysterical Priscilla Queen of the Desert and asked the handsome wunderkind what was next. "You'ill definitely be seeing me in more than just the stage very soon," he teased. Get it, girl!
Playing the auctioneer at this living-art sale was none other than Tony winner Beth Leavel, currently on Broadway in Baby It's You. Other special guests of the evening included Tony nominees Judith Light (Lombardi), Christopher Sieber (La Cage aux Folles) and Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon), plus Tony winners David Hyde Pierce (La Béte), Roger Rees (The Addams Family), Emmy winner Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart) and, in a surprising twist, New York Post columnist Michael Riedel, who's made a few enemies on the Great White Way over the years.
Backstage, we literally almost ran into Adams' La Cage co-star Robin De Jesus, dressed as a glittery little frog. He told us it was his first year in Bares, and he's been very excitedly rehearsing since early last month. He was performing in a piece inspired by Monet's Waterlillies that saw him hopping around on a lilypad avoiding and tricking sexy garcons trying to catch him. That's one frog we wouldn't mind kissing?
Like all the amazing Adonises showing their skin on stage, performer Justin Smith looked like he had been training his whole life for this show. "I've been depriving, not starving myself. It takes a lot of time and effort to stop eating the things you want and are used to, to get into the perfect shape for this thing," said Smith, making his second appearance at Bares. Ugh, we hate him. (Kidding!) Brandon Rubendall, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark star and recent Next Magazine cover model, was getting ready to go on stage when we grabbed his arm to ask how he was chosen to play Michaelangelo's David and star in Bares' ad campaign. "It kind of happened by chance and I am incredibly honored! To be the face of the event this year, is totally major."
We've said it before: it's Broadway's best night of the year. When those underappreciated (and overdressed) chorus boys and girls get to take center stage and work their God-given, um, talents. And this year, Broadway Cares made a record-breaking $1,103,072. “This was the most expressively beautiful edition of Bares in its 21 year history," gushed Mitchell, who started the revue two decades ago in a gay bar. "When this many people come together for an event this large, for something that literally exists in the heat and light, the sweat and mist for just one extraordinary night. It simply takes my breath away.” Funny, it did the same thing to us!