Ok, ladies and gents, here are… the gents. Or, our favorites, anyway. As you’re about to see 2012 was a lovely year in theater. Here’s hoping the outlook for 2013 is every bit as warm.
1. Steve Kazee
Oh, Kazoozle, the man who made us swoon all year long with his snug henleys and trim vests and ability to feel and express (!) a kazillion emotions, both on stage and in real life. Playing a guitar and speaking with an Irish accent in Once only served to make us swoon harder for this strapping Kentucky import with a fun-to-pronounce last name.
2. Bobby Cannavale
Only Bobby Cannavale could make a character as slippery and disingenuous as Ricky Roma seem… well… hot. In between being horrified and basically creeped out by the characters shenanigans, we watched Glengarry Glen Ross with the general thought that Bobby could tear our clothes off any time he likes. In short, hand the man a Tony Award.
3. Cheyenne Jackson
The best moment of the entire fall season thus far — hands down — was when Cheyenne Jackson, as porn star Mandrew in The Performers, stood up, and just before he said his line, blithely tightened his ponytail. Only the most perfect man alive could imbue such a dumbass gesture with so much dopey charm. It hurt nothing that he was barechested, tattooed, and wearing leopard at the time. If The Performers proved anything it all, it resoundingly showed that Cheyenne Jackson has still got it — and that… and that… — for miles.
4. Norbert Leo Butz
He’s Broadway’s DILF of the decade. Proof? Nothing — not even Dead Accounts — could put a damper on Norbert’s sexy, haywire charm. Plus, his 54 Below gig was legit one of the best Broadway-ish cabarets we’ve ever seen — ever. Other, younger leading men might be prettier and shinier, but none of them have Nobert’s smarts, or his glittery humor. Or hell, his killer pipes. For young Broadway bucks who are afraid to turn 30, we suggest that they watch Norbert and take careful, careful notes.
5. Seth Numrich
Need yourself a boy with a barely-concealed sensitive soul? Seth Numrich is your guy. His tough, wounded turn as the Golden Boy himself, anchors him solidly as a for realz actor — and a bona fide cutie. But all the War Horse fangirls knew that already.
6. Will Chase
Broadway’s consummate leading man had a busy year. He joined Laura Osnes in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s completely demented musical Pipe Dream at Encores! He shagged Debra Messing’s character (ahem) on Smash. And he played the most dastardly of bad guys in Drood — complete with twisty mustache. Go figure, it took this latest development to make us fall madly in love. Maybe we like our men dangerous. Or maybe the glee that Will brought to this role was just totally infectious. No matter the reason, we’re happy to be on the Will Chase bandwagon — even if we’re a little late.
7. Joshua Henry
Can we talk for a minute about Joshua Henry, though? How he keeps showing up in these smallish roles and making us lose our minds? Much was made of Audra McDonald singing about ten bars of “Summertime” in Porgy and Bess, but it was the Joshua Henry version, early in the show, that made us swoon. Also, it’s really hard to argue with those biceps.
8. Richard Fleeshman
With abs of steel and curly hair we’re just dying to run our fingers through, Ghost star and British import Richard Fleeshman totally stole our hearts this year. And while we didn’t get to hear his sexy accent on stage, just knowing it existed made him a million times hotter in our minds. We’re sad we couldn’t keep him around longer, but hold out hope New York can sort out a way to get him back. Soon.
9. Derek Klena
Though he’s probably half our age, we’re totally digging Derek Klena, who we saw off-Broadway twice this year, once as a sensitive jock in Carrie and once as a sensitive Marine in Dogfight. His resemblance to Zac Efron is what caught our eye first, but his sweet performances and lovely voice are what kept us coming back for more. We hope Broadway gets their hands on this hunk ASAP.
10. David Furr
Two seconds after David Furr stepped onto the Delacorte stage in As You Like It this summer — before he’d even turned to face the audience fully or spoken a single word — we were elbowing each other and sighing like school girls. That’s how fast we fell for David Furr. And while anyone who can rock a weird-length, slightly greasy wig like that deserves our respect, Furr’s speaking voice/mastery of Shakespearean verse/piercing pair of baby blue eyes will keep us swooning for life.
11. Dan Stevens
As fans of period dress and smart boys, we’ve long held a candle for Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens and this year, we finally got to see him on the Broadway stage in The Heiress, where his general handsome dashing-ness kept us from hating the show completely. We love his British accent, gentle blue eyes, and total literature nerdery (he is the Editor at Large for online literary quarterly The Junket and sat on the judging panel for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction) so much that we’re wondering if it’s possible to clone him.
12. Will Swenson
While he’ll always be Berger in our heart of hearts, this year Will Swenson rocked his way right back into our lives as henley wearing bar/club owner Tom in Murder Ballad. We love him forever for being tall and strong and masculine, with the most amazing dark locks and beautiful light eyes.