That’s exactly what happened. The first year he moved to New York City, Buscher became a dancer in “West Side Story” – and shortly after, he was performing in “Broadway Bares.”
“This will be my fourth ‘Broadway Bares’ show,” said Buscher, who is now performing in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” “I’ve had some good features in it - George Washington crossing the Delaware; a banker in the  show – ‘Stripopoly.’ I’m fully invested in this project!”
This project is “Broadway Bares,” now in its 22nd year, a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
Every year, “Broadway Bares,” a grand, sexy, one-night-only burlesque event with 200 Broadway dancers performing elaborate choreography, raises money for BC/EFA and awareness of HIV/AIDS. This year, “Broadway Bares XXII: Happy Endings” will be June 17.
But on Sunday, the show had its kickoff event, or, as host Jen Cody said, “its amuse bouche,” “Broadway Bares: Solo Strips,” which starred Buscher and nine other “Bares” dancers doing solo strip teases they individually choreographed. The event is a look back to the beginning of “Broadway Bares” 22 years ago, when executive producer and creator Jerry Mitchell hosted a strip show at a gay night club as an HIV/AIDS fundraiser. The evening raised more than $11,000.
To celebrate “Broadway Bares’” 20th anniversary in 2010, the group produced “Solo Strips” for the first time, to give a wink to their roots. It was so successful that they did it again – and again. This year, the event moved to the XL Nightclub, and the audience packed the space.
Each of the men performed against a giant LED screen that added a chic video component to their performances – sometimes silhouetting them with lights, sometimes acting as a set that moved the audience from Las Vegas to the White House.
One of the slyest performances was when Grasan Kingsberry came to the stage as Barack Obama about to give a speech with two Secret Service members flanking his podium. When one of them held up a chart showing that the President’s approval numbers were down, he started stripping, and when he had taken it all off, his approval numbers skyrocketed and the audience cheered.
Nick Kenkel, currently dancing in “Evita,” gave one of the more surprisingly moving performances as a student who discovers a sense of freedom and individual sexuality through S&M. Kenkel has choreographed performances for “Broadway Bares” for 10 years and has performed in all three “Solo Strips.”
He noted that the event is important because younger men in the gay community need to be kept aware that HIV/AIDS is still a threat to their health and lives. “People think they’re infallible,” he said. “They need to be reminded that we need to take care of ourselves. Waves of artists died in the 80s and 90s.”
And he said that one of the best things about “Broadway Bares” – and “Solo Strips” – is that awareness happens while everyone has fun.
“Doing ‘Broadway Bares’ and ‘Solo Strips’ is the best high of my life,” Kenkel said before the show. “Dancing is really grueling, we’re always auditioning our asses off. This is one time of no competition, when we just celebrate each other for one big cause that is really important that we all care about.
“It’s heaven,” he added. “It’s the one night when gypsy dancers become rock stars. Every dancer should try it – it’s like nothing else.”
“Broadway Bares XXII: Happy Endings” will be Sunday, June 17 at 9:30 p.m. and midnight at Roseland Ballroom, 239 W. 52nd St. Tickets can be purchased at broadwaycares.org or 212-840-0770 ext. 268. For more information and merchandise, see broadwaybares.com.