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by Michael Portantiere

    Boyz Will Be Girlz (and Vice-Versa)

    The fifth annual edition of Broadway Backwards, the wildly entertaining benefit concert in which men sing songs traditionally performed by women, and vice-versa, exploded onto the stage of Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre last night -- Monday, February 22. And wouldn't the Father of Our Country have been proud! Created, directed, and choreographed by Robert Bartley, the event -- which this year raised funds for both New York City's GLBT Community Center and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS -- was a roaring success. Here are some of my pix from the show.



    The opening number featured appearances by Robert Cuccioli (left) and Valerie Harper, the latter soon to return to Broadway as Tallulah Bankhead in Looped.


    Broadway Backwards 5 was hosted by the fabulous Florence Henderson, here seen being arrested by Richard Kind for supporting same-sex romance in "Shipoopi" from The Music Man.


    In another number from The Music Man, Becki Newton played a predatory traveling saleswoman (salesperson?), with Barbara Angeline as her prey.


    Dan Butler (soon to return to the New York stage in The Irish Curse at Soho Playhouse) took the Nancy Walker role of cab driver Hildy in a number from On the Town, putting the moves on cute young sailor Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (a.k.a. Henrik in the current revival of A Little Night Music).



    In the two photos above, Gary Beach and the male ensemble are seen performing "I'm Not at All in Love" from The Pajama Game.


    Lee Roy Reams and Len Cariou, who appeared together on Broadway in Applause 40 years ago, sang "I Remember It Well" from Gigi. (You probably won't be surprised to hear that a Lauren Bacall reference creeped into the lyrics.)




    In the three photos above, we see Tony Goldwyn (who'll soon return to Broadway in the revival of Promises, Promises) cavorting with the male ensemble in "Conga!" from Wonderful Town.


    Three of Broadway's hottest dancers -- Timothy Bish, Adam Perry, and Nick Adams -- performed "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" from Sweet Charity



    As seen in the two pix above, Douglas Sills musically declared, "I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more!"


    Bruce Vilanch played Bianca (or was it Binaca?) in the "Tom, Dick, or Harry" number from Kiss Me, Kate, with (left to right) Ward Billeisen, Antuan Raimone, and Patrick O'Neill as his/her suitors.


    Michele Lee sang "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane and "The Boy Next Door" (rendered here as "The Girl Next Door") from Meet Me in St. Louis.


    Raúl Esparza channeled Judy Garland -- complete with frenzied arm motions -- in his searing rendition of "The Man That Got Away" from A Star is Born.


    Flo Henderson was reunited with one of The Brady Bunch kids, Eve Plumb, in a women's prison takeoff.



    Mario Cantone and the male ensemble stopped the show with "Where You Are" from Kiss of the Spider Woman.




    For the show's 11 o'clock number, Florence and the women performed "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls, after which Flo was hauled into court and brought before the judge -- played by another beloved TV mom, Marion Ross from Happy Days.


    For the grand finale of Broadway Backwards 5, Tituss Burgess and the Youth Pride Chorus sang "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Item Link

    Michael Portantiere comes to BroadwayStars with more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for such media outlets as TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has also contributed articles and reviews to AfterElton.com, Playbill, and Stagebill, and has written notes for several major cast albums. Additionally, Michael is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several notable websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.)
    He can be reached at [email protected]

    The last five columns written by Michael Portantiere:

    07/13/2010: Presidential Material

    07/04/2010: Hardy Boy

    06/29/2010: High School Stars

    06/21/2010: Falling in Love Again

    06/17/2010: A Meeting of the 'mos (and Their Friends)

    For a listing of all features written by Michael, click here.