It was a night of thrilling rides for burlesque dancers and ogling audience members alike as Broadway hoofers heated up the HIV fundraiser Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park. Held June 18, the one-night, two-show event raised $1,887,014 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA).
Watch a highlights video at the top of this article; other videos and images from BCEFA social media are posted throughout.
The theme of this year’s Broadway Bares spectacular was theme parks. Taking pleasure seekers on a ride of a lifetime, 200 stars representing 14 Broadway shows danced to elaborate, scintillating numbers that recalled sci-fi rides, a water park, fortune tellers, a fetish land, shows of wizardry, drag queen story time, a Prince Charming carousel, a hot dish at the Meat Rack restaurant and more.
The show kicked off, with Jay Armstrong Johnson and Jonathan Burke as a couple at the “grind opening” of Pleasure Park. On their excursion through the park, they encountered various sexy characters as well as trailblazing 2023 Tony Award winners J. Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell and platinum-selling recording artist Joanna “JoJo” Levesque.
After the show’s finale, the entire cast returned to the stage for the ever-popular “rotation,” during which the scantily clad dancers solicit tips from the audience. The rotation alone raised $22,553.
This year’s online Stripathon boasted 334 participants. Dancer Mark MacKillop raised a record-breaking $112,104, followed by Steve Bratton ($32,286), Jennifer Geller ($27,618), Katie Thrasher ($20,001) and Brandon Antonio ($17,387).
But wait, there’s more! The next related fundraising event is The Fire Island Dance Festival. Held July 14 to 16, at Fire Island Pines, it’s produced by Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Broadway Cares raises money that supports HIV organizations in all 50 states. As the organization explains on its website:
“By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theater community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people living with HIV/AIDS, struggling with COVID-19 and facing other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
“Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the single largest financial supporter of the essential social service programs at the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. We also award annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide.”
In related news, see “Broadway Cares Easter Bonnet Competition Raises $3.6M to Fight HIV [VIDEOS],” “The Surprising Thing About Being Celibate, Sober and Solo” and “Watch Nicole Kidman Surprise a Broadway Audience, Donate $100K to HIV Group.”