BROADWAY BARES: ROCK HARD! Raises Over $1.3 Million for BC/EFA
Broadway Bares: Rock Hard!, a luscious, modern-day mix tape of sensual sights and sounds featuring 170 of New York's sexiest dancers, celebrated its move to a new home on Sunday, June 22 by raising $1,386,105 to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Honoring iconic music moments and songs from Elvis to Pink, Aerosmith to Prince, the 24th edition of burlesque extravaganza got a crowd of more than 5,000 people rocking, jumping and cheering for more during two performances at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom on June 22, 2014. Broadway Bares (#bwaybares) moved to Hammerstein after 15 years at the iconic Roseland Ballroom, which closed earlier this spring.
The 24 editions of Broadway Bares have now raised more than $12.6 million for Broadway Cares.
Broadway Bares: Rock Hard! was directed by Nick Kenkel (Catch Me If You Can, Peepshow, Legally Blonde), who also directed last year's Broadway Bares: United Strips of America. Broadway Bares was created by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), who serves as executive producer. It was produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, led by Producing Director Michael Graziano and J. Jason Daunter.
The exhilarating performances rocking the stage included:
- An opening number that found Matthew Saldivar (Act One) and Joey Taranto (Kinky Boots) as dads escorting their teenage daughters to a One Direction concert. Longing for the rock concerts of their youth, the pair stepped into their dream worlds of hard rockers with ripped abs, voluptuous divas and rowdy roadies. The opening was written by Matthew Sklar (Elf, The Wedding Singer) and Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody, Bring It On: The Musical). Kenkel, Paula Caselton and Sidney Erik Wright choreographed the number.
- A booty short-wearing team of airport TSA agents found trouble with one particular passenger who kept setting off their "detector." After stripping him down, Marine veteran Alex Minsky was left wearing only a star-spangled jock. The muscled and tattooed Minsky lost his right leg and suffered other extensive injuries after his truck ran over an explosive while he served in Afghanistan. After his recovery, a chance encounter with a professional photographer sparked Minsky's fast-rising modeling career, fueled by his laid-back attitude toward having a prosthetic leg. In honor of Minsky and in celebration of his Broadway Bares debut, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS made a $10,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. The number, set to Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," was choreographed by Michael Lee Scott.
- The gyrating and twerking of Brandon Rubendall mesmerized a sock-hop happy stage of dancing young men in a tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis. Spurning directives to keep his hips in check, Rubendall exploded on stage to convert the straight-laced, impressionable men into a sexy chorus of bare-cheeked twerkers, choreographed by Kellen Stancil.
- The music of Stevie Nicks served as the soundtrack for strong, beautiful women as Heather Lang led a coven of fierce beauties recruiting and casting a spell on an innocent Paloma Garcia-Lee. The tables turned when the power shifted to Garcia-Lee who took Lang and her ladies under her own control. Dontee Kiehn choreography the number.
- In a rivalry between two cat-themed college mascots, with Callen Bergmann leading the Lions and Judah Frank representing the Tigers, Chondra L. Profit proved to be the queen of felines as a leather-clad cat woman with a sexy pride of shirtless male panthers. Dancing to Janet Jackson's "Black Cat," Profit converted the college cheering squads into street dancers and ultimately tamed the beastly mascots, leading them upstage on leashes. The number was choreographed by Laya Barak.
- Adam Perry sensuously guided a tribe of free-living hippies on a hallucinogenic dance set to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." With aerialist Alexander Stabler floating overhead as a loincloth-wearing cherub, gold-winged dancers escorted Perry through the illusion, which also included erotic couplings with Michael Apuzzo from Paul Taylor Dance Company and Josh D. Green of Stephen Petronio Company. The number was choreographed by Kenkel and Brice Mousset, with aerial choreography by Ryan Lyons.
- In a mix of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" and "Get Off," James Harkness seductively led a crew of male dancers in a precision routine choreographed by Wes Veldink. As the back-up dancers salaciously paired up and seductively stripped off each other's shirts, a blow-pop sucking flirt, Mishay Petronelli, helped Harkness complete his strip to hide only by his white guitar.
- A tribute to Michael Jackson featured Donna Michelle Vaughn recreating many of the King of Pop's signature moves. Dancing to a sultry re-interpretation of "Billie Jean," a sextet of shirtless men lifted and carried Vaughn across the stage, slowly removing her costume in a number choreographed by Kenkel.
- Tina Turner's sensual "Private Dancer" provided the perfect soundtrack for stage full of passionate private dancers, led by Charlie Sutton and his "customer," Lawrence Alexander. Sutton, choreographed by John Alix, stripped from a business suit to a corset and heels as he mercilessly teased Alexander before ripping off his red, tassled thong.
- Dressed as an ornate Elizabethan queen, Alex Ringler, and his mischievious court jester, Cedric Leiba Jr., intimately inspected her majesty's royal guard. To the tune of "Another One Bites the Dust," the queen dismissed the soldiers when they couldn't rise to her expectations until finding that final guard who - once his uniform had been ripped away - passed inspection. Peter Gregus choreographed the number.
- The sweet childlike dreams of teddy bear-clutching Ryan Lyons turned into nightmares set to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" as he was pulled into an aerial cage of risqué demons who slowly stripped off his bedtime clothes. Below them, a quartet of acrobatic dancers contorted and twisted in steamy pairings. The number was choreographed by Kenkel, Zach Hensler with aerial choreography by Armando Farfan Jr. and Lyons.
- A group therapy session for the sexually repressed turning into a bawdy lesson in the hands - and body - of "doctor" Joshua Buscher. Set to The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack," Buscher taught his willing pupils how to open their minds and get their own sexy back in humorously unconventional ways. The number was choreographers by Jim Cooney.
As the gruff stage door security guard "Dale," Lesli Margherita (Matilda The Musical) worked to keep interlopers from sneaking backstage. Surprise special guest James Franco (Of Mice and Men) created quite the stir with a frisking from drag diva Bianca Del Rio ("RuPaul's Drag Race"). Tony Award nominee Andy Karl (Rocky The Musical) and Patrick Page (Casa Valentina) were forced by "Dale" to go shirtless to gain admission while Tony winner Alan Cumming (Cabaret) sailed through without trouble and with two scantily friends.
Motown The Musical's Morgan James and Syndee Winters brought the show to its raucous finale, pumping up the audience with Broadway Bares' version of Pink's "Raise Your Glass." Closing the evening, two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber (Matilda The Musical) led the show's famous "rotation" where the entire cast appeared on stage to receive individual tips from audience members.
Echoing a message that has been a part of Broadway Bares from the beginning, Mitchell reminded the audience that: "Remember that safe sex is hot sex. We can best love each other by always remembering to protect each other. Then what we do together will indeed make a difference."
Presenting sponsor M?A?C VIVA Glam delivered a $300,000 check, presented by Jennifer Balbier, M?A?C senior vice president of global product development and M?A?C AIDS Fund board member. Balbier also saluted the extraordinary skills of more than 60 M?A?C make-up artists who volunteered on the show.
Broadway Bares is a hotly anticipated annual event combining the naughtiness of burlesque and the razzle-dazzle of Broadway. It was created by Mitchell as a way to raise money to help those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. In its first year, seven dancers performed on a bar and raised $8,000.
The presenting sponsor of Broadway Bares is M?A?C VIVA Glam, with generous support from BC/EFA corporate partner United Airlines.