Broadway celebrated its sexiest night of the year June 18 with Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park
at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom. The evening featured Broadway
favorites baring (mostly) all in burlesque production numbers. The event
included more than 190 dancers presenting "unrivaled fantasy lands,
queendoms, and magic kinkdoms that will leave you dreaming of a fast
pass for more."
The charity event benefited Broadway Cares and raised a staggering $1,887,014, all of which goes to the nonprofit organization.
For the evening's finale, Mykal Kilgore performed his original song “Came Here for Love” with Bares-specific lyrics adapted by Kyle Ewalt. Kilgore was joined by Aléna Watters and Marty Thomas as the stage was filled with the entire Pleasure Park cast, guided by the choreography of Mike Baerga. Other performers in the finale, which can be viewed above, included Jaylon McCraven, Sarah Meahl, Justin Mock, Nick Nazzaro, Nick Picknally, Jovany Ramirez, Kaylin Shadle, Sissa Strain, Manatsu Tanaka,, Katie Thrasher, and Leslie Walker.
Check out behind-the-scenes photos at the Hammerstein Ballroom captured by Roberto Araujo.
The event, Pleasure Park, took inspiration from theme park attractions, including an opening number with the lyrics "It’s a world of glitter, a world of pecs." There was a magic-themed number featuring Cameron Jackson (Aladdin) as a wizard whose pants vanished in a disappearing act. Another featured Jamie Patterson (Aladdin) as a patron waited on by sexy servers Tyler Eisenreich (Moulin Rouge! The Musical) and MiMi Scardulla (A Beautiful Noise) at the Meat Rack restaurant, where the waiters were dressed in black vests and not much else. A waterpark-themed number featured acrobat Zongoli and seven aerialists performing from high above the stage.
Making appearances at this year's show were J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot), Alex Newell (Shucked), Joanna “JoJo” Levesque (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Nick Adams (Hulu’s Fire Island), Kyle Brown (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Stephen DeRosa (Mr. Saturday Night), Taurean Everett (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Justin Prescott (Funny Girl), Constantine Rousouli (Titanique), Aléna Watters (Bad Cinderella), Jonathan Burke (The Inheritance), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Parade), as well as Broadway and recording vocalists Mykal Kilgore, Marty Thomas, and Jessica Vosk.
Laya Barak again directed the fundraiser, joined by co-director Kellen Stancil and associate director Jonathan Lee. Jerry Mitchell, recipient of this year's Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, and Nick Kenkel executive produced.
Broadway Bares was created in 1992 by Mitchell as a way to raise awareness and money for those living with HIV/AIDS. Mitchell and six of his friends danced atop a New York City bar and raised $8,000 in Broadway Bares’ first iteration. Last year’s 30th anniversary edition raised $1.9 million, bringing Broadway Bares’ total to more than $21 million for Broadway Cares.
The evening helps provide meals and medication, health care, and hope to people across the country living with HIV/AIDS or facing other life-threatening illnesses and personal crises.
Broadway Cares is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and other critical illnesses across the United States.