Sunday at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will once again mount their much-anticipated production each year... Broadway Bares!
As a show of thanks for extraordinary support for Mo and BROADWAY CARES, Mo will send everyone donating over $100 a signed photograph from the entire cast of his number! Donate $500 or more and there is a fabulous and personal surprise that awaits you... but you'll have to make the donation to find out exactly what.
Even if you don't throw a benjamin into Mo's virtual briefs, donors of any amount will get a fantastic high-resolution copy of the image below of Mo & his crew. Forward your donation confirmation e-mail to email@example.com and it is yours!
Hunk du Jour: For the two or three readers out there who have never heard of BROADWAY BARES give us the low-down... what is BROADWAY BARES all about?
Mo Brady: BROADWAY BARES is one of the biggest yearly fundraisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA). The show is like Broadway's version of a Burlesque show, with over 200 of the New York theatre communities fiercest performers strutting their stuff, and all the proceeds going to BC/EFA.
MB: Each year, the show revolves around a theme. And this year, BROADWAY BARES: MASTERPIECE is a strip show centered around great works of art. On June 19, two fun and crazy performances will be given for thousands at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. I am told that the shows always sell out, so people should get tickets early!
HDJ: How long has the event been going on? How did it get started?
MB: In 1991, Broadway Director/Choreographer Jerry Mitchell was a chorus boy in THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES. He was looking for away to respond to the growing AIDS crisis, and to show people that expressing their sexuality (albeit safely) was still an OK thing to do. So he gathered six of his WILL ROGERS cast mates, and they danced on the bar at Splash (a New York gay bar) for tips. That night, Jerry and his friends raised $8,000.
MB: As the years went on, the production has grown by leaps and bounds into a New York theatre institution. Everyone, from the performers to the designers, choreographers and stage managers, volunteer their time and talents. In the last twenty years, BROADWAY BARES has raised more than $7.5 million. All of the proceeds go to BC/EFA, which in turn supports hundreds of health-service organizations around the country and the world.
MB: BC/EFA has a YouTube channel, with tons of videos about the organization and a preview of BROADWAY BARES: MASTERPIECE: http://www.youtube.com/user/bcefaTV
HDJ: How did you get involved with it this year?
MB: This is my first year participating in BROADWAY BARES. Having worked professionally in Seattle for years, I finally made the leap to New York last Fall. And I was one of those New York success stories, who combined a lot of hard work with a lot of luck to book my Broadway debut just weeks later. I've been performing in THE ADDAMS FAMILY for just about six months now (Come see us at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater!)
MB: While still in Seattle, I had the pleasure of working with Jerry on the pre-Broadway tryout of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. I was inspired by his insistence of "FULL OUT - EVERY TIME." Its so true - we only have one chance at a life well-spent, so why not put your complete heart and passion into everything you do. So when I joined THE ADDAMS FAMILY, I worked to immediately immerse myself in the Broadway experience - cheering on Broadway Softball League games, representing my show on the Broadway Green Alliance, and especially by performing in BROADWAY BARES.
HDJ: Does BROADWAY BARES hold any special meaning or significance to you personally? Are you dedicating your fundraising and/or performance to anyone?
MB: When I came out of the closet fifteen years ago, I never really dealt with homophobia. Living in the liberal mecca of Seattle, I was lucky to have family and friends who understood what it meant to be gay, and that supported me very quickly. I credit their understanding to the groundwork laid by the gay men and women who came before me. Their fight to educate allowed to feel normal and to thrive as a gay man. So I think its important to to support organizations like BC/EFA to honor them and their work.
MB: Before moving to the city, I participated in the Seattle AIDS Walk for many years, as well as volunteering with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on their AIDS vaccine projects. However, Seattle had nothing that allowed performers to use their talents and skills to raise money for the cause like BROADWAY BARES does!
MB: In addition to performing in the show, each participant in BROADWAY BARES is also asked to raise money in an online "Strip-a-thon." Its a friendly competition between actors to raise funds for BC/EFA and their programs. Last year, Strip-a-thon itself raised over $200,000! Its like the adult version of your middle school Walk-a-thon. But much, much sexier.
HDJ: Have you ever gone to the previous BROADWAY BARES events? What was your experience like?
MB: I have never even SEEN a Broadway Bares show! I have seen photos and videos online, so I have a sense of what the show looks like from audience's perspective. And I have plenty of friends who have participated and told me what a crazy and exhilarating night it is. So I am jumping into this experience with almost reckless abandon.
MB: The rehearsal process of BROADWAY BARES so far has been a blast! Before I started, I was a little intimidated by what I assumed with a company of insane talent and physiques. But while everyone involved is amazingly skilled and ridiculously hot, they are also incredibly supportive and kind-hearted. It has been so inspiring to meet and work so many people who are as passionate about HIV/AIDS issues as I am. Follow me on twitter @mo_brady for the backstage perspective (and photos!) from the show.
HDJ: Finally, give us your best plea... why should the Hunk du Jour readers support BC/EFA and you in the BROADWAY BARES Strip-a-thon?
MB: Everybody participating in BROADWAY BARES really takes Jerry Mitchell's philosophy of "FULL OUT" to heart. These folks are working their asses off to create an entertaining and sexy show that is also full of heart and passion. The organizations that BC/EFA support are truly vital, and the amount of money they are able to raise from BROADWAY BARES is truly outstanding. And I can't imagine a more enjoyable way to support HIV/AIDS organizations than watching hot boys in g-strings or sexy gals in pasties.
MB: Please help us raise money for the cause - it is REALLY true that every single dollar makes a difference!
REMEMBER: Forward a copy of your donation receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday for a small token of gratitude from Mo and Hunk du Jour.