Daniel Robinson is a man of many talents. He first came to our attention in the fantastic movie The Big Gay Musical but now he’s moving behind the camera to film a documentary about Broadway Bares (more on that from Daniel below).
We caught up with him last week to talk about his involvement inBroadway Bares, find out about the documentary and get a little bit more information on what it’s all about. Read on for part 1 of our interview and come back later in the week for part 2 where Daniel tells us all about his involvement in The Big Gay Musical and much more.
How are you today? What have you been up to?
I’m actually filming a documentary and I’m directing it so I’ve been in the midst of that. It’s for Broadway Bares which is an event run by Jerry Mitchell who directed and choreographed Hairspray and Legally Blonde. I’m actually one of his associates so we do a lot of stuff together but right now we’re doing a Broadway Bares documentary; it’s what I’m in the midst of and it’s been really great. It’s a lot of work – a lot more work than I thought – but I’m having a good time.
What’s Broadway Bares all about?
Broadway Bares is like a burlesque show and it’s been going on for about 20 years. It started when Aids broke out in ‘91/’92 with about 8 dancers at a bar. Every year they’ve done the same benefit over and over for the last 20 years and it was the 20th Anniversary this year. Pretty much what it is, is they get a lot of Broadway celebrities, actors and dancers – usually about 200 – 250 dancers – to dance and they put on a strip show like a burlesque show. It’s a payback to that time. It’s been really amazing. They do about 10 numbers and they’re big and glamorous; people get down to almost nothing. These are Broadway veterans and newbies, Broadway chorus boys and Broadway chorus girls – it’s quite an event. I’ve been a part for about 4 years and this is the first year I didn’t strip. In fact I filmed so it was very exciting.
What was it like being behind the camera?
It was amazing. It gave my life such perspective. When I did the show I always had this inner glow and passion, and I loved doing it because it was for such a good cause. It felt like you were doing something so great and it had such a huge build up; it was so incredible. Being on the other side, to see people go through that for the first time, it was really quite incredible. I just had a new perspective and a new appreciation for it. It was really great because I got to see the developing phases of it for the last 6 months; from where it was 6 months ago until now. It was such a huge adventure for some people; the director, the dancers, the people going through the eating habits and trying to not eat anything and work out as hard as they could.
Also the fundraising – we raised over $1 million this year which is a huge amazing thing. It was a big goal when we set it and not many people thought we were going to accomplish it but sure enough we did.
Yeah, it’s quite incredible.
I mentioned on Twitter today that I was talking to you and instantly there was talk about a video of you performing to Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. I think you’ve got quite a lot of fans out there.
(Laughs) Wow that’s amazing! That was a really great performance. It was actually our kick-off show at the original bar – the bar you were looking at in that performance was Splash where it all began – so they did these things called mini-Bares where they had Broadway celebrities and people who have been involved in the Broadway community do this event and start off the whole stripping extravaganza. It was really quite incredible. I remember there were a lot of cameras and I was like ‘this is definitely going on YouTube’ (laughs). It’s kind of amazing though because it raises a lot of awareness and we’re still not done with the fight. It’s still happening and it’s affecting people’s lives. The red ribbon still stands, it’s still there. We’ve got to continue to do our part and I definitely feel like I’ve found my way to do mine. It’s very exciting.
When can we expect to see the documentary?
Probably next year. The goal was to have it done by October but as we progressed with the filming things got bigger. The footage got longer and bigger. It was really wonderful filming it because I was a dancer as well. I knew what to watch but in a way it was kinda hard because I felt like I had to film so much and see so much. It got longer and longer so then now it’ll probably be released by next year’s Bares – its 21st year – which is exciting to look forward to. It’s a lot of work on my end as I have a lot of footage to get through and I also edit and direct so it’s been a big part of my life. Now it’s finally my chance to do that.
After having this experience do you think you’ll go back on stage for future productions?
Yeah of course I’ll be going back onto the stage. I have a couple of things that are kind of in the midst. The Big Gay Musical 2 which we’re writing at the moment and we’re probably going to film that next year.
There’s a lot of projects that are in development but I’m just trying to take it a day at a time (laughs). It’s difficult but you have to remain grounded and get your sleep. I’m a very creative and driven person and I constantly have to be told to slow down because I like to do as much as possible whilst I’m on this Earth. People say ‘work hard, play hard’ but I work harder more than I even play and I don’t even play hard. I never really go out and party. I’m never really active in that scene. I think of it as a great thing because I get to observe a lot so when I do have events or parties I enjoy them to its fullest extent; take a look and step back.