Hollywood is famous for its abundance of hot actors, but the New York theater has its own cadre of guys who are seething with sex appeal. Here’s our tribute to some of the fabulous fellows you’re likely to find performing on stage in NYC. We tried to cast a wide net, so in addition to such pretty Broadway faces as Cheyenne Jackson and Matt Cavenaugh, you’ll find less well-known but no less smokin’ hot men who have made their mark Off- and Off-Off-Broadway.
We’d love to have your feedback, but before you begin noting who we left out, please know the criteria we used for our selections. We wanted to focus on men who are truly part of the fabric of New York theater, so we leaned toward those who’ve been consistently active in this arena over the past few years and/or have had two or more major roles during that time.
Thus were eliminated such super-hot newcomers as Daniel Radcliffe, Terrence Howard, Paulo Szot, and Hunter Parrish, as well as several gents who’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to theater but have lately been kept away from the stage by their film or TV schedules — e.g., Neil Patrick Harris.
Also, we decided not to include "chorus boys" among our hotties, because if we had done so, the list would have had to be two or three times as long. So, here are the guys presented in alphabetical order. Enjoy!
Nick Adams received tons of publicity last year when he was asked to wear a hoodie (rather than a tank top) as Larry in A Chorus Line so that his spectacular body wouldn’t upstage Mario Lopez, who had joined the company in the role of Zach. No worries: All that attention led to photo shoots for several magazines and a job modeling 2(x)ist underwear. By the way, Nick is openly gay, so we’re pleased to have him at the head of our hot list. Look for him next in Guys and Dolls.
Michael Berresse, also openly gay, was very busy on Broadway last season: He appeared as Zach in A Chorus Line (before Mario Lopez), co-starred in the Encores! production of No, No, Nanette, and directed and choreographed [title of show]. Michael did a fantastic job of helming that meta-musical, but we hope he’ll also continue to strut his stuff onstage.
Richard H. Blake
Richard H. Blake started on Broadway as a child actor, but as you can see, he’s aging very well. Recently, within the space of two years, he played the sexy but not-very-nice boyfriends of the leading female characters in two big musicals: The Wedding Singer and Legally Blonde.
David Burnham possesses an absolutely gorgeous singing voice. (For proof, track down his CD.) He understudied the role of Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza, going on many times during the Broadway run and officially taking over the part for the show’s national tour. Last year, he did a stint as Fiyero in the monster hit Wicked.
Jonathan Cake displayed a great deal of his awesome bod, along with his exceptional acting talent, in three different shows during the 2007-2008 season: Cymbeline at Lincoln Center, and the Atlantic Theater Company productions of Almost an Evening and Parlour Song. Oddly enough, audiences were not heard to complain about his semi-nudity.
Matt Cavenaugh created a sensation in 2004 when he seemingly came out of nowhere to win the title role in the musical Urban Cowboy. That show was a flop, but he went on to be featured in Grey Gardens and A Catered Affair. Matt will soon be back on Broadway as Tony in the hotly anticipated revival of West Side Story (see photo above.)
Will Chase made his mark as an actor in Chicago before his Broadway debut as Chris in Miss Saigon. Since then, he’s had leads in Rent, Aida, The Full Monty, Lennon, and High Fidelity. Now he’s back on the Broadway boards in the new, two-character musical The Story of My Life.
Gavin Creel received a Tony nomination for his role of Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie and played Jean-Michel in the revival of La Cage aux Folles. He recently appeared as Bert in the London production of Mary Poppins, but he’ll soon return to Broadway as Claude Hooper Bukowski in Hair.
Mike Doyle did double duty Off-Broadway in 2008, showing his versatility in the over-the-top comedy The New Century and the deadly serious drama Betrayed. You may also recognize him from his recurring role of forensics tech Ryan O’Halloran on Law & Order.
Raul Esparza’s Broadway roles include Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, Philip Sallon in Taboo, Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bobby in Company, Lenny in The Homecoming, and (currently) Charlie Fox in Speed-the-Plow. This bisexual thespian is the best of the best.
Chad Goodridge didn’t have much solo time in Passing Strange, but he still made a big impression. Soon you’ll see him in Spike Lee’s film version of the show, which recently played at Sundance.
Nathan Lee Graham
Nathan Lee Graham played a drag queen in Wig Out at the Vineyard Theatre, but that didn’t stop him from showing off his ripped, muscular, far-from-feminine torso in certain scenes. Among his many other credits, he was seen in the Broadway musical The Wild Party with the late, great Miss Eartha Kitt.
Jonathan Groff made hearts flutter when he created the role of Melchior in Spring Awakening. Then he played Claude in The Public Theater’s revival of Hair at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park but chose not to stay on board for the upcoming Broadway transfer. Most recently, he appeared in Craig Lucas’s Prayer for My Enemy at Playwrights Horizons. Look for him next on the big screen; he has a major role in the Ang Lee film Taking Woodstock, scheduled for release this summer.
Photo credit: Kevin McIntyre
Curtis Holbrook was terrific in two over-the-top musicals last season: Xanadu on Broadway, and Saved Off-Broadway. If you didn’t see those shows but he still looks familiar to you, it’s probably because he had a lot of screen time in the movie version of the musical Hairspray, in which he played Zac Efron’s best buddy.
Cheyenne Jackson was a standby for leading roles in Aida and Thoroughly Modern Millie before getting his first starring shot in All Shook Up. That show didn’t last long, but gay fave Cheyenne has remained theatrically active ever since, most recently singing up a storm and looking great in short-shorts as Sonny in Xanadu.
Christopher Jackson played Simba in the Broadway company of The Lion King and is now making pulses race as hot homeboy Benny in the smash-hit Broadway musical In the Heights.
Andy Karl began his Broadway career as a replacement in Saturday Night Fever. He was the original bad boy Luke in the Off-Broadway phenomenon Altar Boyz and went on to play a sexy U.P.S. guy in Legally Blonde. Come April, he’ll be back on Broadway in 9 to 5. (P.S. He happens to be married to one of the hottest women on Broadway, the fabulous Orfeh.)
Aaron Lazar took over the role of Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza and appeared in the live TV broadcast of that beautiful show. Since then, his opera-quality tenor has been heard again on Broadway in Les Miserables and A Tale of Two Cities.
Hoon Lee earned excellent notices for his work on Broadway in the revival of Flower Drum Song and Off-Broadway in Yellow Face. His credits also include Urinetown and Pacific Overtures.
Telly Leung made his Broadway bow in Flower Drum Song, going on to appear in Rent and Pacific Overtures. Most recently, he was seen and heard in one of the most talked-about musical theater events of 2008: the staged concert performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at Carnegie Hall.
Norm Lewis would probably have a major career even if he didn’t look like this, because his bari-tenor voice is one of the warmest and most beautiful in the business. He’s currently displaying that voice and his hot body in The Little Mermaid, having previously been featured on Broadway in Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy, Chicago, Side Show, The Wild Party, Amour, and Les Miserables.
Tom Macy is poised to be a star in short order. In 2008, he scored Off-Broadway as Lance Speedworth in The Boy in the Basement and as Angus/Son of Macduff in the Roust Theatre Company’s super-sexy production of Macbeth.
Logan Marshall-Green co-starred in the short-lived TV series Traveler, but he has also been a frequent and welcome presence on the New York stage during the past several seasons, most recently in Michael Weller’s Beast at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Jason Mills, one of the hunkiest performers around, got a real workout when he appeared in Forbidden Broadway and then did a stint in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera.
Lin-Manuel Miranda burst on the scene as the co-author and co-star of In the Heights. You can still see him on stage in that show, and he somehow found the time and energy to write Spanish lyrics for several songs in the upcoming revival of West Side Story.
Matthew Morrison made his Broadway debut as heartthrob Link Larkin in Hairspray and was most recently featured in South Pacific as Lt. Cable, for which role he obviously worked out like a demon.
Daniel Reichard is another gorgeous, mega-talented Forbidden Broadway alum. Since appearing in that show, he played Keith Haring in the underrated Off-Broadway musical Radiant Baby, hit paydirt as Bob Gaudio in the original company of Jersey Boys, and did a beautiful job of singing the title role in Candide at the New York City Opera.
Matthew Risch was an ensemble member and understudy in the Broadway casts of Chicago and Legally Blonde, but he stepped up to the plate and took on the title role in the current revival of Pal Joey when original star Christian Hoff dropped out of that production shortly before opening. The lyrics to one of the show’s most famous songs describe Joey Evans as a "half-pint imitation," but as far as we’re concerned, Matthew is the real thing.
Brian J. Smith
Brian J. Smith drew gasps from audiences when he took off his shirt as Turk in last season’s Broadway revival of Come Back, Little Sheba. He subsequently appeared Off-Broadway in Good Boys and True at Second Stage. Even if you haven’t seen him on stage, you may know him for his gay role of Trey in the film Hate Crime.
Bobby Steggert may look about 18-years-old, but he’s already built up an impressive New York theater resume, having appeared on Broadway in 110 in the Shade (with Audra McDonald), Off-Broadway in Yank and The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island, and at Lincoln Center as Mordred in the New York Philharmonic’s staged concert performances of Camelot.
Will Swenson was amazing as Berger in The Public Theater’s Hair at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and he’ll soon transfer to Broadway with that show. Most recently, he appeared Off-Broadway in the jukebox musical Rock of Ages. Rock on, Will!
Mark McCullough Thomas
Mark McCullough Thomas, a recent graduate of The New School for Drama, gave an uncanny performance in the title role of George R. Carr’s play Jamie…The Other Side of Dean. His other Off-Off-Broadway credits include In These Times at the S-P-A-C-E gallery at the South Street Seaport, in which he played a gay man grieving for the lover he lost in the World Trade Center disaster; and a very strong production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Our Lady of 121st Street at the Richmond Shepard Theater.
Aaron Tveit followed in fellow hottie Matthew Morrison’s footsteps by playing Link Larkin in Hairspray. He subsequently gave a moving performance in Next to Normal at Second Stage, in the excellent company of Alice Ripley and Brian d’Arcy James.
Jay Wilkison was a frequent cast member of Rent from 2004 until the show’s closing in 2008, often going on as Roger. He played Gordon in the final company of the show, and will be seen in that role in the soon-to-be-released DVD of the Rent cinecast.
Patrick Wilson’s film career has blossomed over the past several years, but he keeps coming back to the theater, God love him. He very recently concluded a run in All My Sons, co-starring with John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, and Katie Holmes. Previously, he had Broadway leads in such shows as The Full Monty, Oklahoma!, and Barefoot in the Park.
Tom Wopat has matured nicely from a hot young buck in the ’70s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard to a highly attractive, talented, and versatile stage actor. He made his Broadway debut about 30 years ago in I Love My Wife and has since starred in City of Angels, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, 42nd Street, and Glengarry Glen Ross. Last season, he was wonderful in the musical A Catered Affair.
Tony Yazbeck played Tulsa in the recently closed Broadway revival of Gypsy, and took a little time off from that gig to appear as Gabey in the City Center Encores! production of On the Town. He was terrific in both roles, but he looked especially great in a sailor suit!