Broadway Bares :: The Solo Act

by JC Alvarez
Wednesday Apr 25, 2012

It’s become a timeless tradition and a rite of passage among every chorus boy (and girl) who is decidedly set on making his mark under the bright lights of the Great White Way in New York City. But at its core the annual vaudeville burlesque antics of "Broadway Bares" - as provocative and saucy as it is every season - is the Broadway community’s greatest fundraising effort dedicated to supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

With a history that dates back to 1992, the very first "Broadway Bares" was little more than a series of solo strips on the stage of New York City’s legendary dance club Splash, and back then the creator of this spectacle, the lip-smacking and dashingly handsome Jerry Mitchell was letting out all stops to raise funds for what was then one of the greatest challenges affecting our community.

But now some 20 years later, HIV/AIDS is no longer the same epidemic it was when it first cast its shadow, and "Broadway Bares" has continued to grow creating its own mystique. Its charitable efforts have franchised even to a parallel event that recently took over the Las Vegas nightlife. Mitchell, the creator and executive producer of "Broadway Bares," was humbly pleased by the success of that event and enthusiastic about what "Broadway Bares XXII" has in store for this year.

Once Upon a Time...

"It’s all the fairy tale endings you wish you read when you were a gay boy," Mitchell teased. Even revealing the show’s theme (and poster artwork) has become as hotly anticipated as the show’s scantily clad cast. "Happy Endings" is scheduled to return to its home at the Roseland Ballroom on June 17 and is directed this year by Lee Wilkins. But if you can’t wait until June to get your bare on, rest assured that there is another night of naked splendor that is as much a draw as the main event in the works.

The precursor to the wonderfully more elaborate ballroom event is a more intimate affair. "Broadway Bares: Solo Strips" will for one-night only, Sunday, May 6, put some of the show’s more stunning acts right in your lap -┬áso to speak. "This is the beginning of the season for us," Mitchell says of "Solo Strips." "It’s the hottest boys on Broadway, starting things off, each doing their own thing. It’s always a fun show."

This year will be no exception, with ten of the hottest performers from "Broadway Bares" getting things off to a rousing start and tastefully taking it all off for the this special evening dedicated to supporting the work of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

With Splash in the midst of renovations, the usual stage that hosts "BB: Solo Strips" is unavailable. Fortunately, Mitchell was able to court long-time friends John Blair and Beto Sutter to lend the 30 foot electrically charged stage at the XL Cabaret elevating this year’s spectacle to all new heights.

"You realize how fortunate we are here in New York," said Mitchell. "For me it’s all about community. I found that environment in theater...and through "Broadway Bares" I’ve been able to extend that feeling to everyone. There’s strength in what we can do together."


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