Waking up this morning with my body still covered in glitter and having no voice, I can happily say that I think that makes for a very successful first Broadway Bares! Last night was unlike anything I have experienced thus far being in the Broadway community. Before last night, I was a Broadway Bares virgin- waking up today, that "Cherry has been popped," like Jerry Mitchell and Nick Kenkel like to say and I have become a true member of the legacy that is Broadway Bares.
It all started with throwing the idea around the last two years with some close friends. I always had a secret wanting to be apart of Bares, but truly was nervous and always made an excuse or simply wasn't available. Also with the crazy schedule that comes with being Dance Captain, the excuse to not take part always lined up... until this year. I heard that the theme of the show would be "Game Night" (which I LIVE for) and looked at my close friend Shannon, also game night obsessed, in our dressing room (first time Broadway Bares too) and said what if we just go to the meeting and see what it's all about?! As time grew closer, the questions and doubts kept creeping in and finally the night before the meeting she sent me a text saying, "Make sure you have your headshots and resumes tomorrow because I'm forcing you to go to this meeting with me and be apart of Bares!" Fast forward and there it was, two girls who made their Broadway Debut in "A Bronx Tale," to making their "Broadway Bares" debut together!
When it came to making my Broadway Debut, I vowed to myself to partake in everything that goes with being on Broadway! Getting cast in Broadway Bares was pretty exciting, especially when I saw I was in Al Blackstone's piece "Candyland!" I have been dying to get the opportunity to work with him and even though I never thought the first time would be Bares, I was stoked and secondly I LOVED playing Candyland as a kid! The entire rehearsal process was an absolute joy! Ali and Billy, Al’s assistants on the piece, were a dream too! The energy was always light, fun, uplifting, and always had me leaving with the biggest smile! They were beyond organized which made going in on my days off a breeze! I looked forward to being in a room with all new friends and being able to create the world of Candyland with them, which also included eight others who were making their Broadway Bares Debut too!
The days leading up to the show were a bit of a whirlwind! Friday- Sunday it truly is non-stop to put together all of the pieces of this unbelievable show! This being my first time both watching and partaking, I watched every piece with my mouth open in amazement at how lucky I am to be apart of this community of incredible, talented artists who all from the Stage Managers, to wardrobe, to the crew, to the choreographers, to the makeup and hair teams, down to the cast, all volunteer their time and produce this miraculous and vivacious show! It truly felt like a family and that is something I will cherish. Show day is fast and furious! It is so organized that from the time you enter the building you are whisked away to rehearsal, hair, makeup, and costumes, yet somehow feel completely ready and prepared by the time the shows start! The energy that is within the walls of the Hammerstein Ballroom is unreal! You feel love, acceptance, support, trust, pride, guidance, hope, a sense of connection and a true sense of what it is to be apart of a community. That is what I loved so much about this entire experience.
Show time was surreal! As I was being transformed into "Lollipop Attendant," I couldn't help but look around the room and just smile in amazement. Piecing the vision together and seeing the finished product left me with my jaw on the floor! Everyone looked incredible and I truly couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at myself for the first time in the mirror! Lots of pictures, tons of glitter, half naked to fully naked performers, and immense amounts of love and support (and of course talent from all departments) pulled this show off! What was even crazier was dancing onstage as a full company during the finale and then sitting onstage amongst all of these performers, surrounded by a crowd who was along on this intoxicating ride with us from start to finish, left me at a loss for words!
We all have one goal and that is to raise as much money as we can to give back to those who are in desperate need of help, and I am so beyond happy to say that we raised over $1.8 million! I, along with so many others were in SHOCK! Team Candyland came in a whopping second place for the team competition raising $50,386 and I personally raised close to $2,000, which was a goal I didn't think I'd be able to reach but did with the help of all those who took the time to donate.
I sit here today extremely grateful and proud to be on Broadway and to have been able to represent my show (A Bronx Tale) in this year’s 28th Broadway Bares: Game Night! When they say you don't want to miss out on Bares- TRUST- YOU DON'T!