‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares

‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares
‘Zoltar’ number Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park (photo: Curtis Brown)

Neon lights and thrilling heights filled the night as nearly 200 of NYC’s sexiest dancers and special Broadway guests delighted two standing-room-only audiences at Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park on Sunday, June 18, 2023, at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

This year’s Broadway Bares was a rousing twist on theme parks and raised an astounding $1,887,014. Broadway Bares is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Pleasure Park-goers perused and cruised worlds of wizardly wonder, dynamic drag, sweet confections, animal queendom and a fantastical waterpark among other tantalizing rides and attractions that gushed with LGBTQ+ pride.

Jay Armstrong Johnson (Parade) and Jonathan Burke (The Inheritance) starred as a couple at the “grind opening” of Pleasure Park.

On their excursion through the theme park like no other, they encountered the sexiest collection of characters, plus trailblazing Tony Award winners J. Harrison Ghee (Some Like It Hot) and Alex Newell (Shucked), and platinum-selling recording artist Joanna “JoJo” Levesque (Moulin Rouge! The Musical).

‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares
Opening number from Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park (photo: Curtis Brown)

Stripathon, the spirited online fundraiser led by the show’s cast and crew, raised $1,011,499.

Broadway Bares creator Jerry Mitchell arrived on the heels of receiving his latest Tony Award, this time the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The philanthropic honor recognized Mitchell for his work on Broadway Bares, which he created in 1992. Mitchell serves as executive producer with Nick Kenkel.

“Amazing things happen when you show up,” Mitchell said. “That’s what all of you have done year after year, decade after decade. You’ve all shown up in the ways that only you can and only you know how to and it will always make a difference.”

The rich history of Broadway Bares began when Mitchell, then a Broadway dancer, gathered seven of his friends to raise awareness and stop the stigma of HIV diagnoses by stripping and strutting on the bar at New York City’s Splash. They raised $8,000 that first night to help those living with HIV/AIDS. Since then, Broadway Bares has raised $26.4 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares
‘Charming Carousel’ at Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park (photo: Curtis Brown)

The Pleasure Park cast of nearly 200 dancers represented 14 Broadway shows from this season including Aladdin; Bad Cinderella; A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical; Bob Fosse’s Dancin’; Funny Girl; Hamilton; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; Life of Pi; The Lion King; MJ; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Six; Some Like it Hot and Wicked.

The book for this year’s show was written by Hunter Bell, Steven Cutts and Troy Britton Johnson.

Production Stage Manager Johnny Milani with Sarah Helgesen and T.J. Kearney led a team of 42 stage managers with more than 600 volunteers behind the scenes to create the show.

Joel Shier was the production’s lighting designer, with sound design by Nick Borisjuk and scenic design by Jason Lee Courson. Jeffrey Wallach was costume coordinator; Megan Burke and Ian Joseph coordinated hair and wig design; and Caite Hevner managed video design.

‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares
‘XTRONX’ from Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park (photo: Curtis Brown)

Jay Armstrong Johnson returned to lead Bares’ famous “rotation,” where the entire cast ended each show dancing to encourage tips from the audience. This year’s rotation raised $22,553.

A trip to a theme park is never complete with souvenirs, so Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park T-shirts, hats, magnets and posters are available starting today in the Broadway Cares online store at broadwaycares.org/store.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the philanthropic heart of Broadway, 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 theater community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

‘Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park’ Raises $1,887,014 For Broadway Cares
Broadway Bares: Pleasure Park finale (photo: Nathan Meredith)

(via press release)