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BWW Interview: What's on Tap for BROADWAY BARES: ON DEMAND? Director Nick Kenkel Has All the Answers!

"Must see TV" never looked like this. Watch what happens when the immensely popular BROADWAY BARES tackles the boob tube in an unrivaled evening of sexy striptease production numbers, produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The 26th annual edition of BROADWAY BARES goes live onstage at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom for two ratings-raising shows at 9:30 pm and midnight.

Come on down Sunday, June 19, for BROADWAY BARES: On Demand (#BroadwayBares) where you'll have instant access to more than 150 of the hottest male and female dancers in New York City. Whether you're searching for the thrill of victory or just your moment of zen, BROADWAY BARES: On Demand will feature everything you love about television with a brand "nude" look.

For the fourth year in a row, the show will be directed by Nick Kenkel (Catch Me If You Can, Peepshow, Legally Blonde), and BroadwayWorld caught up with him earlier this week to talk all things Bares!

Broadway Bares: On Demand is coming up on Sunday. What makes this year's event special?

Last year it was the 25th Anniversary and we used that to celebrate the show. I was very intimidated about how we could come out of that, so I thought, "Why not create a TV network called Bares TV?" So it's 'live' all-day programming on this network. Basically we are on-demand and doing all types of shows. We start with a morning show, then we do a SNL-like info-mercial. Then we do a cooking show, Game of Thrones, a horror movie... it's really fun.

I love the concept!

Yes, and the thing that makes it really special is that it's taking off in terms of book. Hunter Bell is our writer- he's been with us a couple of years on and off. So basically the story is that the executive producer of the network decides to do something drastic to get ratings up, so they decide to do strip programming- all nude all the time! [Laughs] So as the show goes on our ratings go up and we get celebrities who are 'auditioning' to be on Bares TV. We have a lot big names who have done pre-recorded videos that we'll be airing. And by the end of the night, we find out that we are #1 and we've conquered the world! One crotch at a time! [Laughs]

I know you're in rehearsal now- how have they been going?

I've been doing the show for 15 years and I'm amazed by the new crop of energy in the show. The last couple of years have really been honestly amazing. Really that's what brought me back. It's a lot of work directing this show- I started work eight months ago when I pitched the idea to Jerry [Mitchell] and the producers at Broadway Cares. It's pulled me back in. The spirit of the New York gypsy- the hard-working New York actor who is hustling from job to job, waiting tables, auditioning... it's so sincere that they are actually working so hard to raise money for this organization.

And it has become such a beloved tradition...
We always have these heart to heart talks while we're in rehearsal, and especially before we go live with the show, when we talk about how this is about something that's much bigger than ourselves. It's about the tradition of gypsies coming together and taking care of ourselves. When it started back in the day it was literally about survival. Jerry's friends were quite honestly dying of AIDS, and he was helping for their healthcare. It's still relevant, but also Broadway Cares now donates money to so many other good charities too. So we are quite literally still taking care of ourselves.
And this is your fourth time back as director. Congrats!
Yes, you sort of have to top yourself every year! You have to do something to keep coming back to see the show again, so you have to offer people something new. I just thought this could be such a huge idea. When people walk in it will feel like a control room, and we'll have old videos of past numbers running.

Is there any kind of tribute to Orlando planned?

We talked about it and decided that it would be absolutely tone-deaf if we didn't do something. We have a whole pre-show dedication. I think it will allow everyone to breathe a sigh of relief and feel ok about celebrating.

Tickets for BROADWAY BARES: On Demand range from $50 to $3,000. VIP tickets include unlimited specialty cocktails and seats from special viewing areas. The exclusive "Stripper Spectacular" package includes a premium reserved table seat at either show with cocktails, admission to a private cocktail party with Mitchell and a backstage tour. New this year is the "Barest Backstage Insider Experience," which includes a premium reserved table seat at the midnight show with cocktails, a pre-show, behind-the-scenes backstage tour and access to the final "undressed" rehearsal the evening of the show. Tickets details are at broadwaycares.org. For other information and merchandise, visit broadwaybares.com.

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From This Author Nicole Rosky