Broadway Bares was created in 1992 by Jerry Mitchell, then a Broadway dancer, as a way to raise awareness and money for those living with HIV/AIDS. In Broadway Bares’ first year, Mitchell and six of his friends danced on a New York City bar and raised $8,000. Six months later, Mitchell recreated the night. Almost three decades later, the annual fundraiser continues to offer two performances on one night every June. Here’s a breakdown of the beloved theatre community event, by the numbers.
2 Female Directors
The 2019 installment, Broadway Bares: Take Off, was directed by Laya Barak, an accomplished dancer and choreographer whose work has appeared in the last five editions of Broadway Bares. While she has choreographed for Broadway Bares since 2014 and co-directed the 2018 edition, Take Off was her first time helming the production. She is the second female director in the history of Broadway Bares after Jodi Moccia, who directed Broadway Bares: Now Showing in 2004.
Appearances by Judith Light
Since 2011, stage and screen icon Judith Light has joined Jerry Mitchell onstage at the end of Bares performances. Addressing both the audience and the cast, she congratulates the room on their fundraising and reminds them of the importance of respecting and protecting one another: “We must take the power of our diverse communities and dedicate our energies to the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other.”
Number of Venues
The first two editions of Broadway Bares took place at New York City gay bars Splash and at Shout. From there, the event held two-year stints at Club USA on West 47th Street, the Palladium near Irving Place, and Webster Hall in the East Village. In 1999, Broadway Bares landed at Roseland Ballroom, where it held a residency until the space closed in 2013. Since 2014, Broadway Bares has been performed at Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street near Madison Square Garden.
For more than 20 years, Broadway Bares has included spectacular aerial performances. Since 2001, mesmerizing flying sequences have been choreographed by Armando Farfan Jr., creator of The Living Art of Armando. Every June, he flies more than a dozen aerialists from his studio in Las Vegas to New York City to perform in Broadway Bares.
Number of Dancers
Since those first seven dancers in 1992, more than 4,000 dancers have performed in Broadway Bares. The largest cast to date was for Broadway Bares: Click It!, which featured 243 performers onstage at Roseland Ballroom.
The 29 editions of Broadway Bares have raised $28.2 million to help provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance through Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ National Grants Program.