Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for July 2009
BY Brandon Voss
July 06 2009 11:00 PM ET
Seth Rudetsky and Kelli O'Hara in Nothing Like a Dame
Four-time Tony winner McDonald, whose lips Hathaway called "fabulous, pillowy soft" on The View, used her Monday off from Twelfth Night to participate in the theatrical song-and-storytelling showcase Nothing Like a Dame, an Actors Fund benefit for the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative at New World Stages on June 15. Pianist, author, and seriously funny Sirius Radio host Seth Rudetsky (better known to younger gays as the vocal coach on MTV's Legally Blonde reality competition) took over hosting duties of the long-running annual event. A sassy show queen who practically out-illuminates Broadway's marquees, Rudetsky also gave the Inside the (Stage) Actors Studio treatment to South Pacific 's very pregnant Kelli O'Hara, 9 to 5 's Stephanie Block, and original Annie Andrea McArdle, plus living legends Betty Buckley and Bebe Neuwirth.
Neuwirth shared some scoop on her perfect casting as Morticia in next year's Addams Family musical before belting out Liza Minnelli's "Ring Them Bells," but it was McDonald who stole the show with a candid anecdote about her many awkward run-ins with Barbra Streisand. A nagging suspicion that Babs didn't like her was finally confirmed by McDonald's Master Class costar Zoe Caldwell, but the divas eventually found a way to share the same room without incident. As a bonus, out Broadway chorus boy Nick Adams (a.k.a. that guy with the biceps Mario Lopez allegedly wanted covered in A Chorus Line) provided arm candy to escort each dame onstage.
Michael Urie and cast of Broadway Bares 19.0
As in recent years, Adams also showed off his assets at Broadway Bares 19.0, which raised $808,819 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Cybersex-themed and subtitled "Click It," the two-show June 21 event was presented by MAC Viva Glam and executive-produced by recent "I Advocate" subject Jerry Mitchell, who created the benefit in 1992 with just seven Broadway dancers at a Chelsea gay bar. The meticulously choreographed burlesque show has evolved exponentially since then, and now there's a little secret about the event that's dirtier than the dancers' jockstraps after the midnight grind: Though it promises Broadway's hottest chorus boys and girls in the buff, Broadway Bares is actually padded with waiters, bartenders, and professional go-go boys who don't have a single New York stage credit to their names. In fact, some of the sexiest show offs are solely known for their Bares appearances. (Think MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Musical.) But, hey, who's complaining when the cast's infamous pre-show starvation diets pay off so handsomely?
Breaking out from the tanned and toned throngs in thongs, The Daily Show 's Mo Rocca, Top Model winner Whitney Thompson, 9 to 5 's Allison Janney, and Hair 's Gavin Creel memorably strutted their stuff and showed some skin, but I was most titillated to see Ugly Betty 's Michael Urie take the stage in the same square-cut swimsuit he wears in the gay off-Broadway play The Temperamentals . After plugging his show, he explained the rules of the annual Strip-a-Thon finale, during which all the servers and temps go-go for the cause — "It starts with a reach and ends with a thrust," he instructed — and the sweaty cash stuffed in the cast's skivvies wound up totaling $50K more than last year's record.