Music, dance, and a whole lot of skin on display at the Crossroads of the World.
Tom Viola and his team are back together for the first time in more than a year to produce Broadway Bares, a modern day striptease that raises money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
What You Need To Know
- Many organizations like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to support those living with HIV/AIDS, have pivoted to now assist those affected by Covid-19
- HIV research laid the foundation for Covid-19 vaccines
- Now the Covid-19 vaccine could help in the development of an HIV vaccines
For Viola this year’s performance is his first, since he contracted coronavirus last year but this wasn't the first pandemic he has had to navigate. Viola said, "In 1984 I had gone to brunch with seven of my friends. There were eight of us at the table, 10 years later. 1994. Of those eight, four are dead and two of us, including myself, are now HIV positive."
HIV led to a devastating surge of deaths, and a stigma against gay people.
"What we were experiencing in the early 80's into the 90's around discrimination and bigotry and outright hatred from church and state and government. I mean the city government, Koch, wouldn't acknowledge this. The federal government and Regan absolutely pretended this was not happening," said Viola.
Organizations like Broadway Cares were created to overcome that stigma and support those living with HIV and AIDS. When the COVID pandemic hit they pivoted and offered support to those impacted by the Coronavirus.
“To raise money around the issue of HIV/AIDS now for 30 years but to also come together to help people get through COVID is an extraordinary confluence of history,” said Viola.
Dr. Mark Feinberg has been on the forefront HIV and AIDS research for the better part of 30 years. He says that research helped pave the way for COVID-19 vaccines.
"The efforts and the investment and the progress in the pursuit of a HIV vaccine made it possible to move as quickly as possible and really with impressive speed to develop a COVID vaccine and that was made possible because you didn't have to reinvent the wheel. The wheel already existed," said Dr. Feinberg.
Now in turn, advancements with the COVID-19 vaccine could help in the development of an HIV vaccine.
Dr. Feinberg says, "As you have seen with the COVID vaccine. The RNA technology allowed you to go from describing the pathogen, SARS-CoV-2, to actually starting a clinical trial within a few months."
Dr. Feinberg says an HIV vaccine is not around the corner, but there have been promising developments in the last year. So there is hope....something that has led Viola through two pandemics and as he watches dozens of dancers celebrate who they are in the heart of New York City that hope is energized.
"It makes me want to cry. In a good way," said Viola.
To check out Broadway Bares head to broadwaycares.org