The incomparably endearing Ann Harada and 12 of Broadway’s leading men delighted a sold-out audience with hilarious and heartwarming holiday hits at the 2016 edition of Christmas Eve’s Holiday Hunkfest.
Reprising her celebrated role as Avenue Q‘s original adorably inappropriate Christmas Eve, Harada asked Santa to grant her one wish: to sing alongside the hunkiest men on Broadway. To Harada’s delight, Broadway’s hottest heartthrobs arrived to perform classic show tunes and beloved holiday standards, with a naughty and nice twist.
Some of the special guests put unexpected, creative twists on traditional showtunes.
Broadway and television star Santino Fontana fulfilled his dream of playing George in Sunday in the Park with George as Fontana and Harada performed a medley of the show’s hits. Fontana opted for an Etch A Sketch instead of a canvas and the pair recreated the show’s iconic tableau with a colorful beach umbrella in place of a parasol.
Satirizing the relationship between the Phantom and Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, Side Show‘s Ryan Silverman and Harada performed a delightfully dark and hilarious rendition of "All I Ask of You."a Devin Ilaw, who will be starring as Thuy in Miss Saigon this spring, was surprised when Christmas Eve told him he’d be singing "I Still Believe," traditionally sung by the show’s leading ladies. The duo had the audience in stitches with their gender-bending rendition.
Harada reunited with her Avenue Q co-stars Jordan Gelber and Howie Michael Smith as the trio rapped "My Shot" from megahit musical Hamilton. Smith, toting Avenue Q‘s quirky and beloved puppet Rod, sang a variety of holiday hits set to some of Broadway’s quintessential melodies.
Other hunks stayed truer to the original material, letting their captivating vocals take center stage. Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart, who makes magic every night in Aladdin, performed a soulful and sexy rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose" from Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Bandstand babe Corey Cott performed "Dammit, Janet!" from cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Harada swooned as Cott proposed to her with a comically large diamond engagement ring.
Owning his newfound hunk status, Bobby Conte Thornton, who’s making his Broadway debut in A Bronx Tale, sang "Lovely" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, hilariously offering, "All I am is lovely, lovely is the one thing I can do."
Aaron C. Finley from Kinky Boots whisked Harada off her feet and sang the romantic "There Once Was a Man" from The Pajama Game, complete with Harada riding Finley like a horse across the stage.
On the Town‘s Jay Armstrong Johnson, donning a charming sailor cap, joined Harada to sing "Come Up to My Place." Harada assumed the role of the flirtatious cab driver, tirelessly attempting to get Johnson to go back to her apartment. Adding to the seasonal silliness, Harada used a wreath to represent a steering wheel.
The evening also featured choreography-driven numbers. Harada, backed by dancers Colin Cunliffe and Donald Jones Jr., performed the sultry "Le Jazz Hot!" from Victor/Victoria.
Michael Mindlin, dance captain of Aladdin and the evening’s choreographer, came out in Hawaiian attire to bust a move in Mamma Mia‘s "Does Your Mother Know," joined by Cunliffe and Jones.
Harada closed the evening with a stirring rendition of the classic "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," showcasing her impressive range as she briefly broke out of her Christmas Eve character. She was then joined by the entire bevy of beaus to belt "All I Want for Christmas is You."
Christmas Eve’s Holiday Hunkfest was performed December 12 at New York City’s Howl at the Moon. It was directed by Alan Muraoka with music direction by Gary Adler.
Harada originated the role of Christmas Eve in both the Broadway and London productions of the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q. She recently starred in Off-Broadway’s Stuffed, an irreverent comedy written by Lisa Lampanelli. Harada also was previously featured in Broadway’s Cinderella, 9 to 5, Les Misérables, Seussical The Musical and M. Butterfly, Off-Broadway’s Brooklynite and Love, Loss and What I Wore and in George Street Playhouse’s production of God of Carnage. She also was featured in The Actors Fund productions of Chess and Hair. Her TV work includes 30 Rock, The Big C, The Electric Company, The Good Wife, It Could Be Worse, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Lipstick Jungle, Master of None, Redheads Anonymous, Rescue Me and Smash.
Photos by Jonathan Tichler
Video by Reel Time Video Production