Beloved Broadway shows were stripped down, sexied up and given a Broadway Bares twist at this year’s edition of Broadway Bares Fire Island. Inspired by some of the theatre’s greatest hits and set to pop music, the evening brought Broadway style to classic striptease.
Twenty-six of New York City’s best dancers came together in Fire Island Pines on June 3, 2017, and raised a record-breaking $56,533 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The show opened with a playful question: “What gets you in the mood?” Forget Barry White and Marvin Gaye, for this year’s Broadway Bares Fire Island cast the answer lived in quintessential Broadway shows. Host Marya Grandy, dressed as the consummate Mama Rose, led the sold-out Whyte Hall audience through decades of great theatre, offering a Broadway Bares perspective on everything from Oklahoma! to The Book of Mormon.
Donning classic red sequined jackets, tuxedo shirts and bow ties, the Broadway Bares Fire Island version of The Four Seasons instantly heated up when Andrés Acosta, Justin Henry, Andrew Slane and Cooper Taggard stepped to their microphones. In short time, these synchronized Jersey boys danced themselves down to their skivvies, set to Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby.”
Mormons-for-the-moment David Baur, Joe Beauregard, Anthony Crouchelli and Ricky Schroeder were faithfully ringing doorbells when an iconic, red-heeled Lola on a life-size Kinky Boots poster tempted Beauregard’s devotion. Suddenly, a sassy Christopher Lacey appeared in full-out Lola attire, converting the young Mormon men one by one into strutting strippers. The transformation was complete when Beauregard sashayed across the stage in red stiletto heels and little else to Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.”
Those summer nights got a whole lot steamier when Grease was given the Bares treatment, starring Heather Lee Bair as a resplendent Sandy and Sean Burroughs as a delectable Danny. This R-rated romp at Rydell High, set to Shawn Mendez’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” was backed up by exuberant classmates Jon Cooper, Tom Feeney, Jessica M. Seavor and Kathy Vandereedt.
The Fire Island version of the Sharks and the Jets avoided a rumble when Richard Biglia and Barrett Davis traded kisses instead of punches. The tough and talented West Side Story crews, which included Cesar Abreu, Sam Cahn, Taylor Collins and Alex Ringler, transformed into LGBT allies as they told through dance the tale of Biglia and Davis’ love connection to Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”
Fastidious yet flirty princess Emily Larger offered a spin on Once Upon a Mattress, set to Shirley Bassey’s “I Only Want Some.” While being wooed by hunky princes Beauregard, Henry, Slane and Taggard, Larger coquettishly stripped down to nearly nothing, before sending all of her suitors on their own way.
Mitchell Wayne, playing a buttoned-up Benny from Rent, demanded payment from Cameron Burke as Angel, Sidney Erik Wright as Roger and Baur as Mark. The high-energy trio wore him – and stripped him – down to “Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis.
Seavor, assisted by Abreu, Acosta, Ringler and Schroeder, served a sultry, Latin-inspired striptease to “Gimme Gimme” by Inna. The four shirtless men undressed a spirited Seavor to adorn her in only glittering baubles. The transformation culminated in the grand reveal of Seavor in a dazzling white ball gown, posing as Eva Perón on the balcony of the Casa Rosada in Evita.
In a modern twist to the classic Oklahoma!, Cooper played the hired farm hand Jud, who revealed a secret closet of photos of Curly, sharing his love for him with the audience. A dance-driven dream sequence featured a stirring ballet as Cooper paired with Feeney as Curly Vandereedt as Laurey. Before Jud wakes from the fantasy, he and Curly strip down – emotionally and physically – and share an intimate kiss to Sting’s “Why Should I Cry For You.”
King George III and Alexander Hamilton had a slightly historically inaccurate encounter in a rough-and-ready homage to megahit musical Hamilton. Collins, as the king, was royally undressed by Cahn as Hamilton and given revolutionary treatment. Backed by strapping soldiers Biglia, Burke, Burroughs, Crouchelli, Davis, Lacey, Wayne and Wright, the number concluded with Hamilton dangling over a shocked, yet pleased, King George.
The show’s finale featured Grandy’s Mama Rose singing a spirited rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” flanked by the scantily clad Broadway Bares Fire Island cast.
The evening concluded with Bares’ legendary “rotation,” in which the cast freestyle danced as thrilled audience members tucked donations into what remained of their costumes.
VIP guests Joseph Cherner and Taylor Latrowski were brought onstage by Grandy to partake in theatre-themed shenanigans, as part of the special Walk-On Stripper Spectacular ticket package.
Broadway Bares Fire Island was directed by Michael Lee Scott, who also choreographed the show with Tammy Colucci, Abreu, Acosta, Davis and Wright. Justin Scribner served as production stage manager. The evening was presented in association with Fire Island Pines Art Project.
Broadway Bares Fire Island serves as a seductive, intimate preview for this summer’s 27th edition of Broadway Bares, which will take over NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom for two performances on June 18. This year’s theme for Broadway Bares is Strip U, the only college campus where clothing is optional and bodacious burlesque is always in the curriculum.
Photos by Daniel Roberts
Video by Mo Brady