So, I was off to London for a bit of vacation, and I was instructed to send word back to the Americas if I happened upon any particularly handsome gentlemen on the London stage.
Happy to report that there were a number of swoon-worthy fellas worth mentioning. Let the objectification begin.
If there is anyone sexier singing and dancing on stage in London right now I don’t care because I saw Hadley Fraser in Richard Eyre’s production of The Pajama Game in Chichester, England.
Fraser convincingly played an American working-class stiff who is the superintendent of a pajama factory and falls for the smart, strong, and beautiful Babe Williams (Joanna Riding).
Whether he was gingerly unzipping Babe’s dress for a little hanky-panky (!) or dancing to a Latin beat during “Hernando’s Hideaway,” he smoldered. His megawatt smile made it clear that any resistance to his charms was futile. But I was unprepared for the pièce de résistance. In the show’s finale, he walked out onstage in white boxers and an open pajama top. He then proceeded to dance, and every ab and hair on his chest was on display for the blue-haired matinee crowd to see. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. No one told me this was going to happen. Only the rows of elderly ladies between me and the stage stopped me from lunging for a touch. Ok, well, and maybe the fear of prison. Obviously, his singing and dancing talent is perfect for musicals, but we’ll be seeing him next in The Machine, which is slated for an off-Broadway run in September. He’ll be playing chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. I’m assuming he keeps his shirt on in that…
Special skills: Singing, dancing, smiling, abs, being way more appealing than the Phantom ever was.
Follow him on Twitter @HadleyFraser
Ben Whishaw reminds me of an older, wiser, slightly more tubercular Andrew Garfield—underfed, sad eyes, and you want to take ALL his pain away. As much as he looks bang-able, he also looks equally breakable. I caught the closing night performance of Ben Whishaw in John Logan’s new play Peter & Alice. Whishaw is well known on the London stage having played Hamlet at age 24 and for being the object of everyone’s affections in Mike Barlett’s Cock.
Watching Whishaw put his hand on his co-star Dame Judi Dench’s shoulder to comfort her during their tearful final curtain call made it clear why his gentle, understated way is so appealing. Whishaw’s depressed, shell-shocked performance as Peter Llewelyn Davies with greasy hair, fluttering eyes, and copious tears made me regret that this was the first time seeing him in a leading stage role. Ben, please come to Broadway.
Special Skills: Crying, dramatic acting, hair that gingerly falls in his eyes and you want to push it away so you can kiss him and make it all better.
That Frank. In Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, Franklin Shepard can do a line of coke off a piano, spank his mistress’s bottom, and ignore his wife’s daggers, but the minute he wraps his arms around you, you forget all the reasons you were mad at him in the first place. Or at least you do when he’s played by the charming and affable Mark Umbers. Now, my friends know how much I love Colin Donnell. (I watched the whole season of Arrow, people.) I would not easily accept another Franklin Shepard, but Mark Umbers steps into the role and his magnetic charm almost makes me forget Mr. “One-Tear.”
Special Skills: Singing, losing yourself in his arms, sparkly blue eyes, ass you could bounce quarters off of.
Follow him on Twitter @MarkUmbers
Ashley Robinson caught my eye last fall in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Merrily We Roll Along before it transferred to the West End. I was wondering what this handsome random American was doing in the cast. I still don’t know, but I’m happy to report he has moved with the production to the West End. He plays Frank’s pal Tyler. Who remembers Tyler — the guy who invented the answering machine? I do, now that’s it’s played by Robinson. Robinson also originated the role of Jett Rink in Giant when it premiered at the Virginia Signature Theatre. And you can see he’s the type of guy who’d be oh so bad while he was trying to be oh so good.
Special skills: Singing, exporting his American talents to foreign shores, Franklin Shepard enabler
Once you’ve seen Adrian Lester’s Othello you understand why Desdemona would slip away in the middle of the night to elope with this military general who commands a room as soon as he enters it. Imposing, handsome, and sexy, Lester is riveting. Although there is a lot of speculation about who the new Dr. Who will be, many are hoping for Lester. A longtime stage and screen actor, Lester is bound for New York in 2014 in Red Velvet at St. Ann’s Warehouse, so you can check him out for yourself when he comes to town.
Special skills: Shakespeare, dramatic acting, ageless charm, BAMF
Follow him on Twitter @AdrianLester
Break my heart why don’t you, DRad. First, I saw you were serious about making a stage career for yourself as you, spoiler alert, went about blinding horses in Equus. Second, you convinced grumpy old me to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, where you proved yourself a (suitable) song and (serious) dance man. And now you’re stomping on my ever-loving heart in Martin McDonagh’s excellent play The Cripple of Inishmaan. Damn you. And no matter how ugly they say you are in the play, I don’t believe it. You’re totally kissable in my book. Wait, how old are you? Can I even say that yet?
Radcliffe is funny, heartbreaking, and a seamless member of the strong ensemble. It’s a dark comedy and with his half shaved head, twisted arm and foot, he succeeds at making his character Cripple Billy sympathetic, even when he’s been a bit of a fecker.
Special Skills: Magic, eyes of crystal blue persuasion, Irish accent