Captain America holds his mighty shieldin Broadway Bares XII(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Captain America holds his mighty shield
in Broadway Bares XII
(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
In two performances on Sunday evening, June 16, the 12th annual edition of the new-age burlesque extravaganza Broadway Bares raised $395,000 to support the good works of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. That figure exceeds last year's previous all-time high total by more than $55,000.

Fully titled Broadway Bares XII: A Comic Strip, this year's show at Roseland featured dancers from virtually every Broadway musical. John Stamos of Cabaret and Steven Weber of The Producers appeared as special guests along with the estimable drag queen personage Flotilla DeBarge, who garnered one of the biggest laughs of the evening with the comment that s/he was sweating "like Whitney Houston going through customs."

Two of the show's major highlights were performances by the New York "aerial theatrical troupe" Anti-Gravity and by The Living Art of Armando, aerial artists from the Las Vegas spectacular EFX.

Broadway Bares was again directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, who conceived the idea while dancing almost naked on a drum in the original Broadway company of The Will Rogers Follies. That first year, he and seven other dancers stripped at Splash Bar NY and thereby raised $8,000 in the fight against AIDS.

Dirty doings in stately Wayne Manor(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Dirty doings in stately Wayne Manor
(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
This year, 165 dancers participated in a huge production featuring extravagant costumes and lighting and sound effects. Individual numbers referenced such comic strip characters as Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, The Archies, and--in a highly erotic sequence--Batman and Robin. The show opened with a song written especially for the event by Andrew Lippa and sung by Julia Murney.

MAC Cosmetics has been the presenting sponsor of Broadway Bares since 1997; this year, MAC president John Demsey presented a $50,000 check to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Other sponsors were the Terry K. Watanabe Charitable Trust, Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Absolut Vodka, Next magazine, 1-800-Postcards, Out magazine, and Metrosource magazine.

Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $60 million for services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses. For more information, visit the website www.broadwaycares.org.