Broadway Bares, the wildly popular X-rated night of gypsy stripping, raised a record $395,000 with its comic book-themed revue, A Comic Strip, June 18. The new total bests last year's by $55,000.
The evening, hosted by The Producers' Steven Weber and Cabaret's John Stamos, parodied everyone's superhero favorites from Superman to Wonder Woman. Weber took his shirt off, but Stamos really got into the act, allowing the dancers to strip him down to a g-string. Other hightlights included a new Andrew Lippa tune entitled "A Comic Strip" sung by Julia Murney and aerialists The Living Art of Armando, who embodied the first openly gay superhero allegiance, The Rainbow Coalition.
Twelve years ago, choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, The Full Monty), who once had to dance nearly naked on a drum in The Will Rogers Follies, found himself inspired to take it all off to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and so Broadway Bares was born. The first year, he and seven other Will Rogers dancers raised $8,000 for BC/EFA.
150 dancers performed in various states of undress. Most other nights, they work it — with costumes on — in 42nd Street, Aida, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, The Lion King, The Producers, Contact, The Full Monty, Mamma Mia!, Sweet Smell of Success, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown and Rent.
Last year's 2001: A Strip Odyssey raised $340,000. Charles Busch, the Off-Broadway dragster who recently achieved Broadway playwriting acclaim with The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, his star Michele Lee, Rent's Idina Menzel, Rocky Horror Show's Tom Hewitt and Alice Ripley and downtown drag queen Edie hosted and performed. — By Christine Ehren