When you leave a Broadway show, chances are you’re humming the tunes, raving about the performances, quoting the dialogue and … are we missing something? Oh, yes, getting weak-kneed over the knockouts on stage. Admit it, you are. Recently, we went there and called out the New York theater scene’s six hottest female babes currently on stage. Now we’re going there again — only this time with guys. It turns out the men of the Great White Way are doing a pretty good job at keeping up with the fairer sex. Want to find out who’s bringing sexy back to Broadway (not that it ever really left)? Away we go …
RAMIN KARIMLOO, Les Misérables
Traditionally, when Jean Valjean steals that loaf of bread and begins his journey in the mega-musical Les Misérables, the heart soars but the mind stays from more base thoughts. The latest revival of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s much-loved smash might just change the second part, and it’s in no small part thanks to current leading man Ramin Karimloo. This Iranian-born Canadian actor is mostly known for his work on the West End stage, where he wowed audiences as the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, among many other roles. Now he’s wooing audiences stateside with his decidedly alluring take on Valjean — we even get to see his sculpted abs. “Valjean is the most selfless man,” Karimloo says, explaining the character’s appeal. “He’s a true testament of hope, love, integrity and compassion.” And what’s the secret to those famous abs? “Famous abs? Hilarious. I’ve seen better,” Karimloo jokes. “However, Valjean, when he left prison, was in the prime of his life. For me, I decided to clean up my diet and push myself in the gym with exercises that geared toward endurance as well as strength training.” One day more pays off, apparently.
STEVEN PASQUALE, The Bridges of Madison County
As the loner photographer from National Geographic who sweeps a beautiful young Italian housewife living in the middle of Iowa off her feet in The Bridges of Madison County, Steven Pasquale has the hunk thing down pat. In his review in The New York Times, chief theater critic Ben Brantley even called him “a lust-worthy leading man.” “Robert puts up walls and plays the shy card because he’s afraid of getting hurt,” says Pasquale, who has starred on the FX television series Rescue Me and on Broadway in Neil LaBute’s play, Reasons to Be Pretty. “It’s this huge experience for him to meet a woman who cracks him open. It’s the single most important thing in his life.” Making his Broadway musical debut in this show, Pasquale sings a gorgeous score by Tony-winner Jason Robert Brown and utters lines penned by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman. (The musical is adapted from the much-loved novel by Robert James Waller.) “The first time Robert and Francesca really connect, when they’re slow dancing in the kitchen, you can feel the audience wanting it to happen,” he says. And you can be sure plenty of audience members are swooning right along with the leading lady.
BRYAN TERRELL CLARK, Motown the Musical
Starring as the late great Marvin Gaye in Motown the Musical, Bryan Terrell Clark gets to croon such classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Mercy, Mercy Me” and “What’s Going On.” He also gets to brood, be mysterious and work everyone up with his sexual healing. “Aretha Franklin came to the show and asked some of us to attend her private birthday party, and she came over to me and said, ‘If you popped your pelvis one more time, I was gonna come up on that stage!’” he remembers, laughing. “So if the Queen of Soul is into you, that’s pretty incredible.” Clark has an MFA from the prestigious Yale School of Drama and has performed with such artists as Gladys Knight and Patti Labelle. But it’s Motown that brought him to Broadway. “Marvin’s driven by his heart, and he’s driven by his passion,” Clark says. “And that’s why he’s so sexy.”
ADAM JACOBS, Aladdin
Talk about a total Disney prince: Adam Jacobs starred as Simba in The Lion King early in his career, and now he’s taking center stage again (and shirtless once more!) as Prince Ali in Aladdin, the Broadway musical based on the Oscar-winning 1992 movie. In between, Jacobs stormed the barricades as Marius in the 2006 Broadway revival of Les Misérables. It’s as a young Disney hottie, however, that Jacobs gets the crowd going. Sure, he gets to soar high above the stage in a wow-inducing magic carpet ride, but he also gets the girl — and a gorgeous girl, at that — all while flexing a seriously rocking bod. And speaking of rocking, Jacobs has been doing his own fair share of that lately. He and his wife, actress Kelly Jacobs (who has appeared on Broadway in Disney’s Mary Poppins), gave birth to twin boys, Jack and Alex, on January 27, 2014.
JEREMY HAYS, The Phantom of the Opera
Currently wooing the lovely Christine Daaé (the character who’s coaxed to operatic greatness by the mysterious Angel of Music), Jeremy Hays is The Phantom of the Opera‘s latest total fox: Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny. “He has money and power. He never takes off his tails. So there’s a James Bond thing about him,” Hays explains, adding: “The clothes help.” Hays made his Broadway debut in Les Misérables and toured with Cats but landed this leading role in Broadway’s longest-running musical without ever having performed as an understudy or in another company first — a rare feat for this production. And Hays loves the fact that he’s vying for Christine’s affections just as vehemently as the Phantom is. “I think the sexiest part of the show is the love triangle. Both men are madly in love with Christine and would do anything for her, and there’s this danger in there,” he says. “It’s all the ingredients for lust.”
ANDY KARL, Rocky
Pumped-up stud Andy Karl is a true Broadway vet: His many credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Wicked and Legally Blonde (where he starred opposite his wife, actress Orfeh). None of his past work, however, packs the one-two punch of performing the lead role in the new high-octane musical Rocky – where he dons the golden gloves of Sylvester Stallone himself, who starred in and wrote the Oscar-winning movie and co-adapted it for the Broadway stage. “I was never going to kid myself with the thought that I wouldn’t have to get into top shape for Rocky,” Karl says. “Many days my body told me that I couldn’t go any further, but my heart and my mind pushed me beyond that.” (Read more about his daily regime.) In the show, he beats the odds as an underdog, finds love and engages in elaborate fight sequences that are spectacular, even by Broadway standards. Karl adds: “I think audiences, no matter who they are, can tap into what I’m doing on stage as Rocky, both physically and emotionally, and be inspired to push themselves in life.” Spoken like a true champ.
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