When Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has a fundraiser, it sure knows how to pull it off. So do the participants in "Broadway Bares," its annual risqué fundraiser. Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, the annual event features the most alluring dancers on Broadway—of both genders—and has become one of the signature events for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA).
Depending upon which participant or audience member is recalling the event, they may or may not say this year's "2001: A Strip Odyssey" on Sun., June 17 was 20% more fun, more bawdy, or more celebrity-packed. But one thing is sure, no matter who's recapping the night—it took in 20% more than ever before.
Last year's total take of $282,000 was a record-setter—and a good one, considering it had only been a decade since the first "Broadway Bares" burst on the scene and made the AIDS service organization $8,000. But this year's total shattered the old record, bringing in $340,000, according to preliminary tallies.
Michael Graziano, producing director at BC/EFA, said this year the strip numbers were connected by "a little bit of a story," devised by Charles Busch. The Tony-nominated dramatist not only wrote the storyline's vignettes, he also appeared onstage, as commander of a multigalactic pack of ecdysiasts. One of the stars of his current Broadway hit, "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife," Michele Lee, also took the stage to play a role, but not to shed her clothing.
Other celebrities also got into the act, including Tom Hewitt, Frank N. Furter from "The Rocky Horror Show" and his castmate, Dick Cavett, "who jumped up and go-go danced for money," according to Graziano. "He did a good job. He made some money."
Graziano told Back Stage that all money raised at "Broadway Bares" goes into the general fund at BC/EFA, which is the nation's leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization.
For more information about the group, write to 165 West 46th Street, #1300, New York, NY 10036; call (212) 840-0770; or e-mail email@example.com.