Broadway Bares 19.0: Click It!

BROADWAY BARES 19.0: “CLICK IT!” was a great success, raising $808,819 with tickets for both performances selling out faster than ever before.

Presented for the 11th consecutive year at the legendary Roseland Ballroom, a record-breaking 5,902 tickets for the 9:30 and midnight shows on June 21 were sold out by Friday, June 19, elevating this year’s fundraising total to the second highest in Bares history.

Broadway Bares 19 featured 243 of the sexiest dancers in town, strutting their hot, sweaty stuff to the work of 18 choreographers.   Created and executive produced by Tony Award®-winner Jerry Mitchell, this years “Click It!” edition was conceived and directed by Peter Gregus (Jersey Boys).  The first Broadway Bares was presented in 1992.  Featuring Mitchell and seven dancers stripping on a bar in Chelsea, it raised over $8,000.  Since then, 19 editions of what Interview magazine calls “Broadway’s Undressing Room” have collectively raised over $6.5 million.

One Super-Sexy Webcast – Live and On-Stage

This year’s internet-themed show featured just about everything legal that can be found online, with skits inspired by email, recipes, “bears,” shopping, gambling, dating, crashing computers, YouTube, travel and – what proved to be an audience favorite –  “fantasy football;” all popping up with a dose of shimmy, beautiful bodies and good ol’ hot and healthy sex.

Daniel Reichard played the show’s central character, taking the audience on a cyber-journey as a young man who’d rather spend the evening on his computer than attend Broadway Bares with his friends. With beach balls and colorful boards on display, “surfing the web” was taken literally in the opening number as Reichard was joined by Heidi Blickenstaff([title of show]) as ‘Widget,’ a young fairy godmother who urges cyber-Dan to live a real life rather than a virtual one but not, of course,  before leading him through all the internet has to offer!

The information super-highway was lined with stars as Broadway favorites. Sutton Foster (Shrek The Musical), Allison Janney (9 to 5) and Kevin Chamberlin (The Addams Family) added wise-cracking, bawdy laughter to the evening with scenes penned by Hunter Bell, the Tony nominated book writer of [title of show].   Before logging off, they were joined by Norm Lewis (The Little Mermaid), Mo Rocca(“CBS Sunday Morning”), Whitney Thompson (“America’s Next Top Model”), and Michael Urie (The Temperamentals, “Ugly Betty”), all showing some stellar skin to help the cause and amp up the audience.

From opening number to grand finale, “Click It!” was an evening of fast-paced highlights and cyber-delights.

“You’ve Got Male” showcased beefy males in tight-fitting mailman uniforms and nearly naked men wearing hip-hugging mailboxes, while the next number, “Stimulus Package,” featured a spangled, red-white-and-blue Miss Liberty supported by dancers in sleeveless tuxes.

Dazzling live vocals were provided by dance music chart-topper Jason Walker for “Webcam” performing “Set It Free.” The campy “Foot Fetish,” based on the viral sensation YouTube video “Shoes,” offered up tall topless boys in incredibly high high-heels.

Las Vegas-based aerialists and perennial Bares showstoppers “The Living Art of Armando” offered “The World Wide Web,” a dazzling, gravity-defying number performed to DJ Earworm’s mashup of U2’s “One,” The Beatles’ “Come Together” and The Supremes’ “Someday We’ll be Together.” Audience members gasped as interlocking acrobats spun above the stage in various formations inside a colossal web made of rope.

With “All Bets Are Off,” a phalanx of sexy dancers strutted their stuff to Lady GaGa’s infectious “Poker Face,” while “A Sweet Treat” gave Broadway’s Norm Lewis the chance to show off a beautifully sculpted body usually confined to the sea at The Little Mermaid, before being stripped to his skivvies by a gaggle of man-hungry, apron-clad 1950s housewives.

This gaggle of grabby homemakers had “barely” left the stage before a suspenders-and-beanie wearing computer-savvy team called the “Geek Squad” lost their buffalo-plaid shirts and more, receiving the kind of “upgrade” Bares audiences have come to expect and enjoy.  Before anyone could catch their breath, “Getaway” took the crowd to New Orleans and filled the Bares stage with a splashy, colorful “Mardi Gras”-inspired production number complete with marching band and an aerial striptease.

But it was the fantasy footballers of “A Real Tight End” that left the breathless audience cheering for more as the group of sweaty team players huddled and tossed around the pigskin before turning upstage and baring nearly all as they headed for the showers.

Only Steel Burkhardt, Gavin Creel, and Bryce Ryness – all from the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair – and  243 dancers performing a rousing dance version of the disco classic “Got To Be Real” could hope to qualify as a truly grand “grand finale” at this year’s event.

But it wouldn’t be Broadway Bares without “the Rotation,” the pulse-raising tradition that ends the show.  Two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber and his Shrek the Musical costar Jennifer Cody returned as rotation masters, urging the sold-out audience to stuff every variety of currency into g-strings, jock straps and cups.  “We’ll take it all. Washingtons, Lincolns and Jacksons,” Sieber shouted over the music and din of the crowd.  “But we are particularly fond of Benjamins,” shouted Cody, jumping up and shaking her booty, exalting crowd members reaching for the dancers with cash in hand to “give it up”!

As the dancers gyrated for tips, international recording artist Kristine W. , joined by Michael Balderrama (In The Heights) and James Harkness (Guys & Dolls), worked the crowd into a lather with  a hot medley of five of her hits: “The Boss,” “The Land of the Living,” “Walk Away,” “One More Try,” and “Be All Right.”  In 20 minutes, and before anyone could name all 44 presidents, a recession-defying $18,600 had exchanged much more than hands.


Team-work helps Strip-a-Thon break records

This year, a record $172,284 was raised through the efforts of the 261 people who participated in “Strip-A-Thon,” an online competition that allows Bares fans to make contributions through Broadway Cares’ website.  Since 2006, over $440,000 has been raised via “Strip-A-Thon.”

For the first year, “Strip-A-Thon” allowed people to form fundraising teams, with “Shoes” – the top team – raising an amazing $31,184. The team comprised the 26 dancers who performed the “Foot Fetish” number at this year’s event. The number was choreographed by Pamela Remler and Shea Sullivan. This year’s individual winner was Frankie James Grande who raised a staggering $14,161 for BC/EFA. Other fundraising standouts were:

Male Runner-ups
First Runner-up (male):              Steven Bratton           $9,685
Second Runner-up (male):        Ben Ryan                    $9,443

Female Runner-ups
First Runner-up                           Jennifer Cody               $7,210
Second Runner-up                     Holly Ann Butler            $4,560

For more on the money-making madness behind Strip-a-thon 2009, click here.


Silliness, Sexiness But a Serious Message

With the finale, Nancy Mahon, the senior vice-president and executive director of The M•A•C AIDS Fund, presented BC/EFA with a check for $125,000. Mahon was joined on stage by Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), Christopher Sieber (Shrek The Musical), Bares director Peter Gregus and BC/EFA producing director Michael Graziano for the check presentation.

This marks M•A•C’s 12th year sponsoring Broadway Bares. Since 1997, The M•A•C AIDS Fund has awarded BC/EFA $1,414,500.  In addition to the generous cash donation, 65 M•A•C make-up artists volunteered their time and talents to help make the evening a success.

“Jerry sends his love to all the dancers and the audience,” said Gregus, speaking on behalf of Mitchell, who was in Seattle working on the eagerly anticipated, up-coming new musical Catch Me If You Can.  Graziano also honored the event’s creator, emphasizing the mission and mindset that inspired this fundraiser. “When Jerry created Broadway Bares, the concept was to celebrate sensuality and community. The message was to ‘have fun’ and ‘be safe,’ and that message is just as important today as it was in 1992. Be safe.”

“Thank you for being a part of Broadway Bares 19!” shouted Gregus as he stood at the top of the stage with the evening’s choreographers Michael Balderrama, Christopher Berens, Tammy Colucci, Connor Gallagher, Stephanie Klemons, Steve Konopelski, Melissa Mahon, Danny Marr, Ray Mercer, Rhonda Miller, Rachelle Rak, Pamela Remlar, Josh Rhodes, Jon Rua, Michael Lee Scott, Shea Sullivan and Lee Wilkins.  “Thank you joining all of us in having one hell of a great time as we raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS!”

Top sponsors included The New York Times and Continental Airlines, as well as Club H Fitness (the official gym of Broadway Bares), Absolut Vodka, Actors Connection, aussiebum, Next Magazine, 1-800 Postcards, PMD Promotion, Showtime’ Californication (now available on  DVD), and W Hotels New York.

A Behind-the-Scenes Cast of Thousands

Broadway Cares thanks the hundreds of people whose tireless efforts and generous donation of nearly inexhaustible energy and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of time make a labor-intensive event like Broadway Bares possible.

Special thanks to production stage managers Jennifer Rogers, David Sugarman and their extraordinary stage management team of 40 men and women who, with the support of an outstanding crew of technicians and volunteers on-stage, backstage, under the stage, front-of-house and in the BC/EFA office, all of whom under the expert leadership of BC/EFA’s producing director Michael Graziano, producers Michael Clarkston and Scott Tucker and the entire BC/EFA staff, make an event of this size possible.

See you at BROADWAY BARES 20 in June of 2010!!!

Special thanks to the photographers whose work is represented on this page:
Rex Bonomelli; Matthew Murphy; Gary Cooper and Tomas Vrzala.

For a galley of their BROADWAY BARES photographs go to:
Rex Bonomelli  @  http://rexbonomelli.com/Photography/BroadwayBares19/index.html
Gary Cooper @  http://gjcphoto.smugmug.com/gallery/8651597_oJ6kF#571015086_qSgCw
Matthew Murphy @  http://www.rantingdetails.com/my_weblog/2009/06/broadway-bares.html#more
Tomas Vrzala @  http://www.vrzala.com/bb