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VIP ACCESS: Broadway Bares and Other Actors With Benefits

January 25th, 2012

Every fourth Wednesday of the month, the “VIP Access” column will serve up advice on how to make your theater-going experiences cheaper, easier and more fulfilling with inside scoop from the experts. This month, we’re your friend with benefits…

The 2011 Broadway Beauty Pageant. Image via

One of the best ways to see the stars you love on stage is not a Broadway show. (Gasp!) Every week in New York there are benefits featuring top tier talent in readings, concerts and special events that allow you to see them up close and personal. Plus, these “off-script” affairs often let the performers show you a new side of their skills (or just a side they’ve kept hidden under their clothes). Let’s take a look at a round-up of some of the most popular and interesting upcoming benefits on the calendar…

The Broadway Beauty Pageant: You’ve heard of “Toddlers and Tiaras; well, this is more “Speedos and Tiaras”. Four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh hosts a tongue in cheek competition March 19 featuring the most beautiful men of Broadway, judged on talent, interviews and swimsuits by a celebrity panel. Tickets are available now for as low as $25 and support the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth.

The Broadway Company of "Wicked". Photo by Joan Marcus.

The 28th Annual Drama League Benefit Gala: If you’re free February 6 and you’ve got $750 or more to spare (gulp), you are certainly going to be seeing stars at this mega-event honoring the beloved Kristin Chenoweth. Those scheduled to perform include Joel Grey, Laura Benanti, Elaine Paige, Donna Murphy, Cheyenne Jackson, members of the original & current cast of Wicked, and many more. It’s black tie and seriously A-list. Chenoweth is clearly Pop-u-lar.

Broadway Bares 22: The granddaddy of them all, or more specifically the hot daddy of them all, Broadway Bares is back June 17 for another night of burlesque performances from the sexiest dancers and biggest names–all to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Although the theme and guests haven’t been announced yet, tickets are on sale now and range from $60-$750. A special “Stripper Spectacular” package includes a table seat, admission to a private cocktail party at the home of Broadway Bares creator Jerry Mitchell, a backstage tour and more. So start saving your pennies…and your singles.

Love Letters starring Patricia Clarkson & Bryan Batt: How much do I want to have drinks and dish dirt with New Orleans-natives and best friends Patricia Clarkson (Oscar nominated for Pieces of April and a riot on Parks and Recreation earlier this season) and Bryan Batt (Mad Men and Jeffrey)? For now, seeing them perform a reading of the intimate two-hander Love Letters to support The Actor’s Fund will have to do. The one-night-only benefit is February 13 and tickets are $100 to $150.

Actually, I did get more than just a little tipsy with half this dynamic duo when I spent a day touring New Orleans for Passport Magazine with Mr. Batt. If you watch the video below you will discover that he’s a delightful guide…and I’m a cheap date.

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