Winsome waitresses, bodacious businessmen trying to succeed and fierce French revolutionaries all helped prove how show tunes can be sexy at this year’s Broadway-inspired Broadway Bares Fire Island.
Twenty-six dancers direct from New York City arrived on the shores of the Fire Island Pines on June 2, 2018, and raised a record-breaking $59,207 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Host Brandon Rubendall opened each of the evening’s two performances by asking the standing room audience, “What gets you in the mood?” Forget the traditional seductive standards, he implored, suggesting instead that show tunes are his sexy secret. Rubendall set the stage at Whyte Hall for a romp through beloved Broadway shows, with a tantalizing twist.
On a quest to learn How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a buttoned-up Ryan Jackson put the books aside to learn the ropes from a bevy of corporate knockouts, including Ted Keener, Alex Ringler, Ricky Schroeder, Demetrius K. Shields, Tanner Wilson and Darius Wright. His lesson turned lusty as he leaped into their arms and traded his business suit for his birthday suit.
Waitresses Heather Lea Bair, Emily Larger and Montana Sholars were spellbound when irresistible baker Jovan Dansberry arrived. The ladies satisfied their sweet tooths by stripping him down to nearly nothing.
Estee Beck and Justin Henry put a Broadway Bares twist on the iconic Havana scene in Guys and Dolls. Beck and Henry’s classic costumes and inhibitions flew away in the Cuban breeze. Backed up by salsa-dancing duo Jakob Karr and Barrett Davis, Henry assisted Beck as she leaped and flipped across the stage with a sensational Latin flair.
The ill-fated voyage aboard the iconic Titanic inspired some dark comic relief. Dressed in traditional 1910s garb and without a care in the world, passengers Madison Ingles, Emily Larger, Tim McGarrigal, Drake Miller and Sidney Erik Wright quickly discovered the challenges of staying upright – and apparently clothed – on a sinking ship. As the makeshift ship teetered, the dancing became increasingly more frantic as clothing started falling off amid the mayhem.
Playing everyone’s favorite witches, Bair and Sholars were pleasantly surprised when something Wickedly hot arrived on the yellow brick road. The quarreling pair put aside their differences to strategically peel away Joe Beauregard’s Dorothy-inspired clothes until all that remained were his sparkling red underwear and heels.
Unsuspecting baseball players Nathan Keen, Shroeder, Shields, Shuriah, Wilson and Sidney Erik Wright got a Damn, Yankees! twist when a devilish Barrett Davis arrived to spice up their game. With help from Davis’ mischievously magical touch, the teammates’ friendship turned romantic as they rounded the bases while stripping off their uniforms.
Matthew Griffin, dressed as a quintessential tourist, was shocked to find his idyllic vacation was not from Once on This Island but rather Once on This Staten Island. Complete with fist pumping, body shots and picturesque vistas of the Fresh Kills Landfill, a raucous crew of Javier Amaya, James Monroe Števko, Beck and McGarrigal showed Griffin the sights, sounds and stripteases of New York City’s often overlooked island.
Combining the classic dance moves of Fiddler on the Roof with the sensual, sizzling heat of striptease, Karr led a romantic and dance-driven piece with Ingles, Jackson, Keener and Sidney Erik Wright.
When a housewife, played by Larger, accidentally over-medicated herself, her innocent evening turned Next to Normal when watching The Sound of Music transformed into a stripping nun fantasy. Led by Alex Ringler and backed up by a gaggle of gorgeous nuns, played by Beauregard, Dansberry, Henry, Keen, Miller, Schroeder, Shuriah, Wilson and Darius Wright, Larger stripped off her homemaker frocks as she was hypnotized by the magnetic men.
The show’s finale featured Rubendall as Les Miserables’ Marius, torn between a sexy Bair and Beck as Cosette and Eponine. But Rubendall wasn’t on his own for long; the rest of the scantily clad Broadway Bares Fire Island cast joined him at the barricade as they bowed to rowdy applause.
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.
Broadway Bares Fire Island was directed and choreographed by Michael Lee Scott, who was joined by Assistant Choreographers Barrett Davis, Justin Henry and Sidney Erik Wright. The creative team also included Assistant Director Chris Siretz; Lighting Designer Kirk Fitzgerald; Costume Designers Sam Brooks, Matthew Hampton and Jeff Johnson-Doherty; Hair Designer Michael Serapiglia; Wig Designer Angie Johnson; and makeup design by The M•A•C Pro Team. Heather Hogan served as production stage manager.
Broadway Bares Fire Island serves as a seductive, intimate preview for this summer’s 28th edition of Broadway Bares, which will take over NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom for two performances on June 17. This year’s theme for Broadway Bares is Game Night, where the fun and games you know and love get a sexy, stripped-down twist.
Photos by Curtis Brown and Danny Roberts
Video by Mo Brady