1. Abs So Amazing They Should Get Their Own Playbill Bio: Sebastian Stan in Picnic
Stan spent the first 45 minutes as the badboy heartthrob of this Midwest-set play without a shirt, abs glistening enough for anyone in the American Airlines Theatre – even those seated in the upper balcony – to spot their perfection. Need I say more?
2. So Sexy I Don’t Care She’s Singing About Murder: Rebecca Naomi Jones in Murder Ballad
Clad in a see-through shirt and blue bra, Jones serves as the mostly omnipresent narrator of this four person rock musical, which puts the action right in the middle of the crowd. Never has recounting a tale been so captivating as when Jones saunters through the theater, coyly detailing the show’s unfolding events. (OK, this one is Off-Broadway, but hopefully it’ll land on the Great White Way soon).
3. Thank You, Casting Gods, For Creating An Ensemble As Physically Wondrous As This: Pippin’s Players
The 1970s musical about Charlemagne’s directionless son isn’t why you go see this revival of “Pippin” – the spectacle created by director Diane Paulus is. At the center is Patina Miller, who commands attention as the Leading Player and uses Fosse-referencing choreography to slink and writhe around the stage. She’s joined by a dozen or so scantily-clad contortionists and former circus members in the ensemble, who twist and slide in ways that inspire spontaneous applause.
4. Best Use of a Towel (Tie): Benjamin Walker in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…
5. … and Jonny Orsini in The Nance
Both fine actors who starred as the respective love interests of Scarlett Johansson and Nathan Lane, Walker and Orsini took terry cloth to new levels this season.
6. Bearded and Beautiful Jake Gyllenhaal: Jake Gyllenhaal in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet
Gyllenhaal’s cockney-accented, bumbling Uncle Terry to the show’s central character is an endearing and earnest role on its own. But it was also kind of hard to ignore the fact that it was JAKE GYLLENHAAL on stage y’all, so I probably found Uncle Terry waaaay more attractive than he should have been.
7. Most Amazing Legs (For Days… And Days… And Days): Billy Porter and the Angels in Kinky Boots
Just LOOK at them.
(L-R: Kyle Post, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Billy Porter, Joey Taranto, and Paul Canaan)
8. So Hot He Almost Upstaged Veteran Actors: Billy Magnussen in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Magnussen’s 29-year-old, mostly clueless aspiring actor/paramour of Sigourney Weaver’s Masha spends roughly a third of his time on stage in in barely-there attire ranging from boxer briefs to running shorts to a “reverse striptease.” He also pinches David Hyde Pierce’s nipples, slaps Kristine Nielsen’s ass, and makes out with Weaver. What’s not to like?
9. Game of Gorgeous Period Drama Sex Appeal: Emilia Clarke in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
For her Broadway debut as the famed Holly Golightly, Game of Thrones’ Dragon Queen dazzled in 1940s style. The show got almost as much attention for its feline stars as it did for the scene in which Clarke disrobed to get into a bathtub (which initially inspired illegal videotaping by some overeager fans). By the time I saw it, her disrobing was mostly masked by a well-placed towel, but her easy-on-the-eyes co-star, Cory Michael Smith, still went for the full monty.
10. Cousin Matthew Was On Broadway And That’s All That Really Mattered: Dan Stevens in The Heiress
As Jessica Chastain’s mysteriously motivated suitor in this play set in the late 1800s, Stevens was charming, eager and American-accented. But let’s be real: while he was on stage in New York, he was still Cousin Matthew on Downton Abbey (spoiler alert: RIP) which probably accounted for a healthy portion of ticket sales, and definitely accounted for all of the giddiness and giggling when Stevens made his entrance.
11. The Sexiest Part Of The Best Musical Of The Season: Rudolpho in Matilda
Believe the hype: the musical based on Roald Dahl’s novel is one of the best things about theater this year, turning the story of a five-year-old with telekinetic powers into a darkly powerful spectacle. Matilda’s negligent mom is more preoccupied with her dance competitions than her children, getting steamy with her “sultan of Samba” Rudolpho, who more than fills the show’s eye candy quota in a way that befits the twisted tale he’s a part of.