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August 1, 2014

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Our favorite midnight rendezvous, ‘Broadway Bares,’ is back — and so is ‘Peepshow’s’ Paula Caselton

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Bobby Black Photography

Choreographer and director Jerry Mitchell, flanked by Josh Strickland and the esteemed Edie, implores the audience to donate money at the end of Broadway Bares.

Broadway Bares 2011

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Lined up, backstage, at "Broadway Bares": Kaci Wilson Jackson, Paula Caselton, Jen Cloer, Travis Cloer, Michelle DiTerlizzi. The ladies are from "Peepshow." Travis Cloer plays Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys."

The unofficial title of this year’s production of “Broadway Bares” could be “Paula: The Sequel.”

The fourth-annual AIDS charity production is set for 11:59 p.m. at Planet Hollywood’s Peepshow Theater. Now formally dubbed “Broadway Bares: The Barest Show on Earth,” the performance raises money for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS foundation, which delivers funds for AIDS research and treatment. The show is an offshoot of the “Broadway Cares” productions launched by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (who heads up the creative team in “Peepshow”) in 1992.

This year’s show coincides with the return to Las Vegas of dancer and choreographer Paula Caselton, who directed the previous three “Broadway Bares” productions at Planet Hollywood. Caselton was with “Peepshow” from its inception before moving to New York last summer but is returning as the show’s dance captain for a nine-month stint.

Caselton is stepping in for Dani Wylie, who is pregnant (Wylie was one of Bette Midler’s Caesar Salad Girls at the Colosseum) but expected to rejoin “Peepshow” next year after her sabbatical from the show.

Caselton has been working with the “Broadway Bares” performers over the past week, and it is a massive operation. More than 200 performers are to take the stage late Sunday for a show that has a circus theme. More specifically, a circus-sideshow theme.

“The idea of ‘Broadway Bares’ has always been to bring in performers from shows and put them in mixed groups,” Caselton says. “We want people in different groups than they’re used to, and that gives the show a lot of energy.”

Cast members from “Jubilee,” “Sirens of T.I.,” “Le Reve -- The Dream,” “Raack & Roll” and various Cirque productions are performing dance numbers under that circus theme. Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis of Chippendales, Mark Shunock of “Rock of Ages,” and Maren Wade of “iCandy” are among the stars scheduled to appear, and the show’s emcee is Scott Nevins, host of the Tru TV game show “The World’s Dumbest ...”

Nevins is a first-time contributor to “Broadway Bares” and is flying in from L.A. for the performance. There is an overarching motive behind bringing him to the show in Vegas.

“We’re hoping to have a ‘Broadway Bares’ in Los Angeles,” Castleton says. “We’re going to try to do it there based on the success we’ve had here.”

Putting this circus on the road is indeed a noble idea.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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