The 25th epic edition of Broadway Bares celebrated the golden age of Broadway with an evening of ripped dancers, cheeky choreographers and sumptuous showgirls on Sunday, June 21, 2015, for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Broadway Bares: Top Bottoms of Burlesque featured 222 of New York’s sexiest and most talented dancers, entertaining standing-room-only audiences at two performances at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom.
This year’s electrifying onstage spectacular featured a colorful cast of characters that included special guest appearances by Andy Cohen (Watch What Happens Live) Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Bianca Del Rio (Ru Paul’s Drag Race), four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, two-time Tony winner Judith Light, Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita and two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber.
The evening offered a bodacious Broadway Bares spin to the classic Broadway musical 42nd Street, the story of a bright-eyed ingenue looking to make it big on the Great White Way.
The show-within-a-show Broadway Bares began with a curtain-raising reveal of 100 beautiful, bouncing booties, all auditioning for a part in the next Broadway hit, “Top Bottoms of Burlesque.” As the delectable dance captain Callan Bergmann cuts wannabe bottoms, Fierstein emerged to introduce a “parade of asses," a pageant of bottoms colorfully representing each season in elegant showgirl costumes designed by two-time Tony winner Gregg Barnes. The opening number, choreographed by Mitchell and Kenkel, was written by Andrew Lippa and Hunter Bell.
As the starry-eyed “Petey Sawyer” from Allentown, Nick Adams arrived too late for the audition and is relegated for the remainder of the show to find his own way on to a Broadway stage.
Leading lady Del Rio, summoned to the stage by Sieber in the role of Broadway producer “JM,” revealed her inner cougar by leading a dozen muscular chorus boys through an erotic shadow dance, choreographed by Michael Lee Scott. But her bows took a devastating turn when she slipped on a wet stage, "breaking her ass" and forcing “JM” to search for a new lead for his “Top Bottoms” production.
Three of Broadway Bares’ favorite women - Jen Cody, Nikka Graff Lanzarone and Rachelle Rak - arrived to help “Petey” find his gimmick to be noticed as a “top bottom.” In a tribute to the first 24 editions of Bares, 10 more of its most iconic lead strips returned for the special “hot vintage booty” alumni number, choreographed by Rak and also featuring Kristine Bendul, Timothy Bish, Joshua Buscher-West, Katy Grenfell, Sandor DeGrazia, Grasan Kingsberry, Daniel Robinson, Michael Lee Scott and Ryan Worsing.
Petey’s turn to shine finally arrived in the penultimate number as “JM” picks him to be the star of his show. Adams made the most of the spotlight, shedding a top hat and tails to reveal Broadway’s new “top bottom” in a hard-driving, show-stopping number choreographed by Kenkel.
A corset-wearing Cox lit up the stage in a fierce reversal of the infamous casting couch, turning the tables on smoldering casting director Casey Lee Ross and his bevy of beauties, choreographed by Kellen Stancil.
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