Taking it all off


February 20. 2013 1:23AM
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There‚??s one simple word that evokes images of beefcakes in bowties strutting their stuff on stage, a show of full-on sex appeal: Chippendales.


The touring troupe of sexy men will come to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for two performances Jan. 11, but is a hot body and some smooth moves all they have to offer?


After chatting with host and lead singer Bryan Cheatham, who‚??s been doing the gig for 10 years, we came to discover that there‚??s much more to the group. Behind the sultry stares and grinding hips, the Chippendales offer veritable talent that just so happens to be covered up (or not?) by rock-hard abs and dazzling smiles.



THE WEEKENDER: How did you become a member of one of the world‚??s most famed entertainment groups?



BRYAN CHEATHAM: I got lucky. I‚??ve been a performer since I was about 16, singing and dancing and whatnot, and I said ‚??You know, I want to move to Las Vegas.‚?Ě I moved out there without a job and, as luck would have it, that same week the Chippendales had just arrived. I brought my headshot, resume, and gave them a VHS tape ‚?? yes, back then it was a VHS ‚?? with my demo on it and they hired me on the spot. Next thing I knew, I was their lead singer. The timing was perfect. You can call it Vegas luck.



W: The luck just kept up, too ‚?? you found yourself on NBC‚??s ‚??America‚??s Got Talent,‚?Ě advancing all the way to the semi-finals.



BC: That was a life-changing experience for me. The people of ‚??America‚??s Got Talent‚?Ě actually found me at the Chippendales; they were scouting. It was the coolest thing ever, getting to work with all different people. It also gave me a chance to show America that the Chippendales are more than just a good-looking face and a good body ‚?? we actually do have talent.



W: That‚??s apparent with you, a triple threat who not only sings but has danced and acted for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Are you planning on exploring only one of those avenues, or are you happy doing all three?



BC: I love doing all three right now, but what I want to focus on most is my music. Once I get the music out, then I can put the dancing with it. The goal, over the next year or two, is to get the next great dance song out there that features the guys, the Chippendales. Maybe we can become the next male Pussycat Dolls. Opportunities with the Chippendales are unlimited. I‚??m grateful they allow myself and the guys to explore different avenues that help our own careers as well as the Chippendales.



W: So what can we expect from the shows at Mohegan?



BC: You‚??re going to get the full Las Vegas-style production. Sets, costume changes, the best of the best, the hottest music playing right now. It‚??s going to be a full-on spectacle.



W: Do you have a favorite song to sing during the show?



BC: That‚??s easy ‚?? it‚??s Bruno Mars‚?? ‚??Just the Way You Are.‚?Ě It‚??s perfect for the show. We meet a lot of girls, all types of girls, and sometimes they‚??re intimidated by us. The song says it just doesn‚??t matter who you are; you‚??re young, old, big, small, no matter what you are, you‚??re perfect in our eyes.



W: It seems things would get pretty rowdy, and funny, during shows. What‚??s your most embarrassing moment thus far?



BC: We have a lot of them. The bras and panties being thrown at me when I‚??m up on stage singing is like, well, I expect that by now because it happens so much. But, most recently, I was on stage singing my solo and I saw some of the girls in the front row smiling and I thought ‚??Wow, they‚??re really enjoying my song,‚?Ě but then I noticed where they were looking. I was like, ‚??That‚??s kind of odd that they‚??re staring at my crotch,‚?Ě so I looked down and saw that my zipper was undone. Needless to say, I don‚??t wear underwear throughout most of the show. The fact that I had to zip up my pants during a solo, when I was the only one on stage, was hysterical. Everyone noticed what was going on. They started laughing, I started laughing, and I couldn‚??t even finish the song.



Chippendales: Jan. 11, 7 and 10 p.m., Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1280 Hwy 315, Wilkes-Barre). $28.50.





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