A reader contacted me on Grindr on Sunday morning to say:
I skipped Broadway Bares last year after getting reamed for taking photos at a Solo Strips, but returned Sunday for Broadway Bares 25: Top Bottoms of Burlesque, the silver-anniversary installment of Jerry Mitchell's unfortunately-still-necessary AIDS charity show that rounds up as many hot and talented chorus boys and girls from Broadway and Broadway-adjacent (and a few who just have roommates on Broadway) to put on a one-night only, two-times only, razzle-dazzle-'em-at-any-cost show.
I decided to go back because I missed the good time and knew the dancers always seem to like having photos to share, people affiliated with the show “like” them on Instagram, etc. Where we stood, everyone around us had their phones out. I think the rule about photos is a misguided fear that it will bite into the show's revenues. In reality, since it's a show that happens once a year, seeing photos from it just encourages people to come the following year, and/or to seek out the merch. I have had a lot of readers say they now travel in for the show thanks to the photos I've posted. So hopefully it helps.
You would think this year's title would mean it was going to be 100% up my alley (I am the original ASSMAN), but I found it to have no more or less tail than past editions, save for its hilariously sexy opening—the curtain lifted to just above waist-level to reveal a bevy of dimpled booties peeking out at the crowd. It was not unlike waving a turkey at a bunch of starving bums on Thanksgiving and saucily asking, “White meat or dark?”
I swear Nick Adams's ass and this tableau could be a Mel Odom illustration.
Directed by Jerry Mitchell and Nick Kenkel, who choreographed it with Laya Barak, Jim Cooney, Armando Farfan Jr., Peter Gregus, Ryan Lyons, Brice Mousset, Rachelle Rak, Michael Lee Scott, Kellen Stancil and Sidney Erik Wright, the show loosely followed the travails of a wannabe played by Nick Adams, he of the Mario Lopez-threatening biceps.
Orange is the new black corset!
Adams starts out too shy to be a stripper, but luckily falls in with the wrong crowd and everything works (and comes) out in the end.
Along the way, the show included 11 tight numbers (it felt super fast this go-round, and I hated the Hammerstein venue as compared to the more spacious and now vanished Roseland), often takes on classic show tunes, always ending with a little more nudity than you might encounter in a locker room.
Baby, if Callan's the bottom, I'm the top.
“Take It from the Top” was a sterling opener starring Harvey Fierstein and Callan Bergmann, a one-time Mr. Broadway, the latter of which as a great opener. Bergmann's were choice cheeks to inaugurate a buns-hun show, and he was one of the performers who really shone this year.
Above: Fetishy gallery of items on the Watch What Happens Live set!
My pal Michael got us into an airing of Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live, which wound up being fun and strange and fun again.
Andy looked over notes and had an explicit script, but seemed to be able to improvise with no problem.
Our episode was airing at 10:30 p.m. (not 11 p.m.), so we showed up a bit after 9:30 p.m. Andy's adorable staffer (they all were) Danny was tending bar in a tiny outer office, acting as a sort of friendly carnival barker as gaga, maturing fans wandered in and being eyeballing every detail of their surroundings. One guy took a picture of a totally unrelated poster on the wall, and when Andy's dog passed by, en route to a late-night walk by a staffer, one woman lost it and tried to take its picture. “I follow you on Twitter!”
We were kinda close ...
A bit before we were sent into the studio, I used the bathroom, only to come mirror-face to mirror-face with Andy, who was primping. I just said hello and ignored him; nobody likes to make small talk with fanboys in johns.