Broadway Bares made a splashy return to Fire Island on June 2, 2012, as more than two dozen sexy dancers and singers brought Beach Burlesque to the Pines, as directed and choreographed by Michael Lee Scott.
A mix of new numbers and encores of some of the most memorable Broadway Bares numbers mesmerized two sold-out audiences at Fire Island Pine’s Brandon Fradd Theatre at Whyte Hall.
Vivacious and bawdy Broadway Bares veteran Rachelle Rak kicked off the show flanked by four high-kicking, sparkling showgirls with a saucy version of Andrew Lippa’s “Burlesque is Back,” originally created by Jerry Mitchell for Broadway Bares XIII.
Steven Wenslawski channeled a sexy Elvis in a gyrating, hip-thrusting dance to the king’s “A Little Less Conversation,” backed up by six flirtatious men, barely dressed in fringed-and-bedazzled gold briefs that seemed even more dazzling the briefer they became.A whimsical trip to the shore turned into a wet romp featuring a rain-soaked sextet of beachgoers in “By the Sea.” Their backs, chests and already skimpy bathing suits were drenched by the unstoppable Ms. Rak and a simple watering can. As the sun reappeared the frolickers coyly ducked behind a makeshift fence to strip down and towel off before disappearing once again into the dunes.
Stéphan Choinière returned to Broadway Bares with an amazing display of strength, balance and flexibility as he and Angelina Puzanova recreated their Cirque du Soleil–style dance, “Spellbound,” for the Fire Island crowd.
Humpty Dumpty from Broadway Bares XVII returned for a hip-hop number in chicken coop that featured dancer Adam Fleming literally breaking out of his shell and with the help of a quartet of frisky hens, ending up in just a thong amid a few flying eggs to Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance”.
George Smallwood turned fortune telling into an erotic experience as he brought a happily surprised member of the audience up on the stage and reinterpreted a dance created for this year’s Broadway Bares: Solo Strips by Brandon Rubendall.
Jamal Story and Christopher Jackson danced a contemporary piece choreographed by The Lion King’s Ray Mercer in an athletic exploration of sexual tension between to men.
After shedding a sparkling, three-piece gold suit, Matt Steffens and a bevy of dancers offered a stimulus package that could revive any struggling economy. As the “Banker,” Steffens let the dollars – and ultimately the golden suit – fly in Shea Sullivan’s steamy interpretation of a rousing number from Bares XX: Strip-opoly, originally created by Josh Rhodes and Lee Wilkins.
In “A Big Man”, a bare-chested cowboy gets upstaged by the arrival of a strapping milk man. Inspired by an infamous Broadway Bares V showstopper created by Jerry Mitchell the farm hands welcome the delivery with their own version of an all-hands-on-deck milk bath.
The show’s finale featured Broadway Bares favorite Matt Zarley performing his exuberant dance club hit “Trust Me,” supported by the entire sizzlin’ Beach Burlesque cast.
The evening concluded on deck outside Whyte Hall with an open-air edition of Bares‘ famous “rotation,” at which the sweaty but exhilarated dancers playfully tease their ramped-up audience into showing their admiration and appreciation with tips carefully tucked into parts almost unknown for a hot job well done.
Directed by Michael Lee Scott and presented by Fire Island Pines Art Project, Broadway Bares: Beach Burlesque was produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS with Producing Director Michael Graziano leading the charge and Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, the creator of Broadway Bares, serving as executive producer (and host of the VIP post-performance party at his lovely home in the Pines).
Broadway Bares: Beach Burlesque was a tease for one of BC/EFA’s annual signature events: Broadway Bares. This year’s fairy tale-themed edition, Broadway Bares XXII: Happy Endings, set for June 17 at Roseland Ballroom, will feature 200 of New York’s most delectable dancers who will take you to a land where rubbing a magic lamp reveals more than just a genie. Get tickets.
Photos by Rex Bonomelli