20 years of stylish stripping for one of the best charities in New York City — Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS — will be celebrated Sunday night at Roseland with “Broadway Bares XX: Strip-opoly.”
It was my pleasure last week to speak with the director of the extravaganza — Josh Rhodes — for a “Go” feature story you can find elsewhere on this website.
I’ve been going to the show for the past decade and have found it to be one of those great only-in-Manhattan nights — a terrific piece of entertainment that gets a huge adrenaline boost from a crowd made up of several thousand theater fans and performers.
Rhodes and his predecessors push the envelope in terms of nudity and other naughtiness but the show never goes over the edge. One of the funniest parts of the event in past years has been in the “tease” portion of striptease — the choreographers and the dancers make the crowd think they are seeing more flesh than is actually on display.
It’s good clean dirty fun, given tremendous energy and style by the fact that the performers are the same folks who are working eight shows a week in Broadway hits like “Mamma Mia!,” “Chicago” and the other dance-driven musicals.
Josh Rhodes and his choreographers and dancers started working several weeks ago on the 11 numbers that will introduce audiences to an erotic/comic version of Monopoly.
Filling in the gaps between the high class strips will be some of the biggest stars on Broadway, whose comedy routines also push the envelope in terms of sexual suggestion, but never to the point of producing career-damaging YouTube clips.
“Broadway Bares” is constructed so that the non-dancing major stars can join the cast just a few days before showtime, depending on their busy schedules — last year, special guests Sutton Foster and Allison Janney brought the house down. And in 2008, “Glee” star Matthew Morrison (above) stopped the show when he took part in one of the most elaborate numbers.
BC/EFA announced last week that Sunday night’s show will include cameos by Kristen Chenoweth, Vanessa Williams and Katie Finneran, fresh from her Tony win for “Promises, Promises.”
Believe me, you will never have a better time helping a good cause than at “Broadway Bares.” The shows are at 9:30 p.m. and midnight and tickets are still available at www.broadwaycares.org.
See you there!