by Mo Brady
What is meant by the word “hottest”? In the most ubiquitous sense, hot means popular, revered and in demand. However, when it comes performing artists, the word hot can get boiled down to one narrow definition: sexy.
While some publications only feature ensemble actors in clickbait listicles of well-earned torsos, we find it problematic to present 20 nearly identical bodies as the epitome of attractiveness. Yes, there is ethnic diversity on this list. But in 2019, there is an opportunity to embrace body positivity at a level that is not seen in these features.
This season's Broadway ensembles include actors of all body types who are incredibly sexy. Some of those bodies are crafted to project glorious vocals that stir the heart, other bodies are lithe and lean to execute technical choreography. Every body in this spectrum provides a unique function in the Broadway space, but all are worthy of acclaim.
Let me be clear: these twenty actors are hot. They are beautiful artists inside and out. However, they are also much more than simply attractive, which this list does not explain.
There’s a reason that each of the 20 actors featured on this list have impressive physiques: they are strong athletes who have crafted their physical instruments to meet the demands of an eight-show week. They’ve strengthened and toned their bodies to execute athletic choreography, manipulate large puppets and lift their fellow dancers with grace. These actors aren’t just hot, they’re athletes.
Today’s Broadway community prides itself on its inclusion, sharing stories of representation with theatergoers. We believe that artists’ hotness is due to their ability to create and inspire.
If the “10 Hottest Chorus Boys and Girls” was one of many features that Time Out New York published about ensemble actors each year, this list would not be so concerning. However, when it is the only time Time Out calls out and celebrates ensembles actors each year, it implies that the only value that these actors have is their Instagram-worthiness.
There are many other ways that Time Out and other major publications could be celebrating ensemble actors. They could be celebrating the actors with the longest careers, or who have given the most impressive performances this season. Time Out could honor those who have the strongest physical instruments, or even those who have done the most philanthropic work.
While the 10 Hottest Chorus Girls and Boys List celebrates actors, it also perpetuates harmful and concerning stereotypes about actors. It’s time to find new ways to celebrate these artists.