Bare: A Pop Opera
|Bare: A Pop Opera|
Off-Broadway promotional poster
|Productions||2000 Los Angeles
2011 St. Louis
2013 Off-West End
2013 Los Angeles revival
2014 San Diego
2015 Medicine Hat
2016 Buenos Aires
2016 Sydney revival
Bare, also known as Bare: A Pop Opera, is a rock musical with a book by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Hartmere and music by Intrabartolo. The story focuses on two gay high school students and their struggles at their private Catholic boarding school.
The musical debuted at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, California, running from October 2000 to 25 February 2001. The New York production of Bare at the American Theatre of Actors Off-Broadway, ran from 19 April to 27 May 2004. The Los Angeles and New York productions were both directed by Kristin Hanggi.
Bare had its Canadian premiere in summer 2009 at the Hart House Theatre, Toronto, produced by WatersEdge Productions Inc. Bare had its Sydney premiere in September 2010 at the New Theatre, as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.
Bare had also been produced in the Philippines by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2009, with the initial run hosted by the undergraduate musical theatre organisation Blue Repertory.
A new production of the original version has been produced again in Los Angeles, this time at the Hayworth Theatre. It opened on 6 September 2013, produced by Topher Rhys and Jamie Lee Barnard for glory|struck Productions, directed by Calvin Remsberg, choreographed by Jen Oundjian with musical direction by Elmo Zapp.
On 20 June 2015, Bare had its Welsh premiere in Cardiff, at the YMCA Cardiff Theatre by Penny Productions, directed by Jay Coleman with musical direction by Connor Fogel.[needs update] This amateur production starred Glen Jordan as Peter, Scott Jenkins as Jason, Emily John as Ivy, Alice Urrutia as Nadia, Alex Reynolds as Sister Chantelle and Phil Paisey as the Priest.
On 18 February 2016, Bare made its Irish debut in Cork at the C.I.T Cork School of Music.
On 6 July 2017, Bare made its premiere in Brighton, an established LGBT destination nicknamed the "unofficial gay capital of the UK". Produced by Brief Hiatus, this production was directed by Conor Baum with choreography by Sarah-Leanne Humphreys, receiving critical acclaim.
The musical opens at a Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany in St Cecilia's Boarding School. Peter, an altar boy, is dozing off and having a nightmare in which he is outed and condemned by everyone ("Epiphany"). After Mass, Peter encounters Jason, St Cecilia's resident golden boy who is also his roommate and secret lover; Jason tries to assure Peter about their secret relationship ("You & I"). Peter asks Jason to audition for Romeo and Juliet, but Jason initially refuses. Alone, Peter reflects on his angst about his relationship with Jason ("Role of a Lifetime").
At "Auditions," drama teacher Sister Chantelle is dismayed by the lack of adept actors until Jason shows up, to everyone's shock. He and Matt, another altar boy, battle for the part of Romeo. In the end, Jason is cast as Romeo, Ivy (Peter and Jason's friend, whom Matt is in love with) as Juliet, Peter as Mercutio, Matt as Tybalt, and Nadia (Jason's overweight, sharp-tongued twin sister) as the Nurse. Jason attempts to console his sister, who wanted to play Juliet ("Plain Jane Fat Ass"). Opening a belated birthday gift, the siblings discover that Jason has been accepted into Notre Dame. The song was replaced with "Love, Dad" in the 2004 Off-Broadway production.
Later, Matt attempts to plan a small surprise birthday for Ivy. Lucas, the school's party boy, plans a trip to a rave, bringing along ecstasy and two other drugs (K and GHB) ("Wonderland"). Seeing a scantily-clad Ivy and its effect on Matt, Nadia decides to spend "A Quiet Night at Home" and play her cello instead.
At the rave, Peter dances with Jason and Ivy with Matt ("Rolling"). Peter tries to kiss Jason, who leads him outside. They argue over their secret relationship: Peter wants them to come out and make their relationship known but Jason refuses because he's afraid to be condemned and lose everything he has. Eventually, Peter and Jason kiss ("Best Kept Secret"); however, Matt has seen everything.
The next morning, the students gather for "Confession." Matt and Peter nearly spill their respective secrets to the priest, Matt about seeing the kiss and Peter about being gay. At rehearsals, Sister Chantelle realises she has her work cut out for her. Nadia jokes about Ivy's promiscuity, making the latter to consider the impression she has on the other students ("Portrait of a Girl").
Matt's little get-together becomes a huge party, thanks to Nadia's hand in the planning ("Birthday, Bitch!"). Peter accidentally eats pot brownies and begins flirting with Jason. A drunk Ivy does the same and Jason chooses her over Peter to save face, making Peter storm off. Matt also leaves when Ivy ignores his advances. Ivy asks Jason to kiss her as a birthday gift, and he reluctantly agrees ("One Kiss").
Matt leaves the party to sit alone with a bottle of wine, expressing his frustration while Peter is nearby doing the same. They then drink together and comfort each other ("Are You There?"). A drunk and high Peter then whispers to Matt the true nature of his relationship with Jason. Matt heads to bed and Peter has a vision of a Sister Chantelle-like Virgin Mary with angels. The Virgin tells him that he needs to come out to his mother ("911! Emergency!").
At rehearsals, Romeo and Tybalt's fight scene becomes real as Matt abandons the script and tackles Jason, calling him a faggot. They are separated by an angry Sister Chantelle ("Reputation Stain'd"). Peter tells Jason about his vision and asks him to come home with him for Spring Break so he can come out. Jason panics, afraid of what his father might do if he ever found out, and breaks up with Peter ("Ever After").
Later, Nadia sings a sardonic song she wrote about "Spring." Peter leaves for Spring Break without a word to Jason, and Ivy shows up at Jason's dormitory room to apologise for her actions on her birthday. Jason tells her it was cute, so Ivy goes in for more. Peter and Matt pine for each of their loves, Nadia wishes to be noticed, while Jason sleeps with Ivy, hoping it is the right thing to do ("One").
The second act opens in the school chapel which is decorated elaborately for Peter and Jason's wedding ("Wedding Bells"). The ceremony turns instead into Jason and Ivy's wedding, as this is really Peter's nightmare. Later, class ranks are posted, and Jason has achieved the valedictorian spot, once again besting Matt ("In the Hallway").
Ivy tells Jason that he is her first true love even though she has been with other boys before ("Touch My Soul"). Jason, realising that what Ivy is talking about is the way he feels about Peter, breaks up with her, leaving Ivy devastated.
Peter calls his mother Claire, to come out but she evades the point ("See Me"). Claire hangs up, shaken and knowing what Peter wanted to say. Eventually her love for him is stronger than her religion and she introspectively accepts him ("Warning").
Two weeks before the show, Ivy misses rehearsals again, claiming to be sick. Sister Chantelle asks Ivy's inept understudy Diane to play Juliet. As Diane stumbles and forgets her lines, Peter takes over, and for a moment, all is well as Peter dances with Jason ("Pilgrim's Hands") until Ivy appears at the last minute. Sister Chantelle cancels rehearsals and Peter leaves. Ivy pulls Jason aside and tells him that she has something she needs to tell him and he agrees to talk before the student-led rehearsals. After the other students leave, Peter returns to pick up his things and Sister Chantelle tells Peter that she knows what is bothering him and that he is just as God wants him to be ("God Don't Make No Trash").
Nadia returns to her dormitory and argues with Ivy about missing rehearsals. She assumes it was because Jason broke up with her, but Ivy reveals that she is carrying his child ("All Grown Up"). Ivy finds Jason practising his valedictory address in the auditorium, and says that she is pregnant and she still loves him. Matt comes in and reveals to Ivy that the reason why Jason cannot love her is because he is still in love with Peter. At that point, Peter and Nadia arrive, and Peter, Jason and Matt exchange heated words. Peter admits he told Matt, and is not sorry for it. The rest of the cast, who were waiting for rehearsals to begin, heard everything as they were waiting in the auditorium ("Promise"). Everyone leaves, leaving Peter and Jason alone. Jason begs Peter for help; Peter says he tried and also leaves. Distraught, Jason reflects on his relationship with Peter, and how even through his fear he knows that it is the only thing that will comfort him ("Once Upon a Time"). Jason, having nowhere else to go, goes to the priest to ask if God still loves him and can forgive him. The priest ultimately says that Jason will only be fine if he denies his natural feelings ("Cross").
During rehearsal, Lucas passes out the drug orders and tells Jason that they're still cool. Jason tells Peter that he talked to the priest about their relationship to show Peter that he still cared ("Two Households"). Jason asks Peter to run away with him, but Peter refuses to run and thus tells him it's over, as he's had his fill of hiding and running away. Jason, thinking that means he's lost Peter for good, takes a lethal dose of GHB. As the school play begins, Jason again pulls Peter aside telling him that he has always loved him since they first met; Peter tells him he loves him too and if they part it's not goodbye. The lovers kiss ("Bare").
During the show, Jason becomes increasingly disoriented, and while Peter is delivering the "Queen Mab" speech, he loses his place and begins to hallucinate. During the masked ball scene, he collapses and reaches for Peter, who holds him as he dies ("A Glooming Peace"). Peter goes to Confession, intending to confront the priest about Jason's last visit. Peter accuses the priest of failing to show Jason empathy, and when the priest merely apologises for Peter's loss, Peter ironically forgives the priest ("Absolution").
At graduation, Peter, Matt, Ivy, and Nadia wonder whether or not they could have prevented Jason's death and consider the role they played in it. The graduates all move forward into a world that will yield more questions than answers ("No Voice").
Bare: A Pop Opera
† Replaced with "Love, Dad" in the 2004 Off-Broadway production.
The following cast lists represent the original Los Angeles cast (2000), the original Off-Broadway cast (2004), the 2007 recording, the revival Los Angeles cast (2013), the Off-West End cast (2013), the San Diego (2014), the Medicine Hat cast, the original South Korean cast, the Welsh Premiere cast (2015) and the Sydney cast (2016), Chicago (2016), Austin (2017)
|Role||Off-Broadway||Los Angeles||Album||Los Angeles revival (2013)||Off-West End||San Diego (2014)||Medicine Hat (2015)||Cardiff (2015)||Seoul (2015)||Sydney (2016)||Chicago (2016)||Brighton 2017||Austin
|Jason McConnell||John Hill||John Griffin||James Snyder||Jonah Platt||Ross William Wild||Charlie Gange||Justin Irving||Scott Jenkins||Seo Kyungsoo, Sung Doosup, Jun Sungwoo||Alex Jeans||Christopher Ratliff||Jamie Landmann||Andrew Brett|
|Peter Simmonds||Michael Arden||John Torres||Matt Doyle||Payson Lewis||Michael Vinsen||Dylan Mulvaney||David Jeffery||Glen Jordan||Jung Wonyoung, Yoon Soho, Lee Sangli||Aaron Robuck||Lewis Rawlinson||Ethan Whitcombe||Rodrigo M.
|Ivy Robinson||Jenna Leigh Green||Lindsay Pearce||Lilly Jane Young / Jodie Steele||Katie Sapper||Jordan Weisgerber||Emily John||Moon Jinah, Min Kyeongah||Sophie Perkins||Molly Coleman||Elizabeth Walker||Alicia Cornwell|
|Nadia McConnell||Natalie Joy Johnson||Keili Lefkovitz||Katie Stevens||Melanie Greaney / Molly Stewart||Samantha Vesco||Angela Bygrave||Alice Urrutia||Lee Ye-eun||Natalie Abbott||Gina Francesca||Grace Leeder||Cat Philips|
|Matt Lloyd||Aaron Lohr||Wallace Smith||Christopher Johnson||Nathan Parrett||Dale Evans / Luke Baker||Mitchell Connelly||Bryghton Robertson||Corey Jones||Bae Doohoon||Timothy Langan||Ryan Armstrong||Ollie Wray||Jacob Barber|
|Lucas Carter||Adam Fleming||Philip Dean Lightstone||Jason Ryterband||Casey Hayden||Liam Ross-Mills / Gary Lee Netley||Martin Ortiz||Mark Irwin||Jake Aston||Jeon Yuksan||Teale Howie||Jacob Fjare||James Darby||Dylan Tacker|
|Sister Chantelle||Romelda Benjamin||Stephanie Andersen||Hannah Levane / Claudia Kariuki||Kiani Nelson||Rondi Korven||Alex Reynolds||Baek Joche||Annette Vitetta||A. Nikki Greenlee||Megan Sayer||Allegra Fox|
|Priest||Jim Price||Mark Edgar Stevens||Jim Price||John Griffin||Matt Harrop / Christopher Dickens||Charles W. Patmon Jr.||Tyler Johnson||Phil Paisey||Song Yijoo||Gavin Leahy||Shaun Baer||Conor Baum||Darren Scharf|
|Tanya Garrett||Sasha Allen||Charity Hill||Judith Hill||Caitlin Ary||Rosanna Yeo / Lauren Rae||Nadia Guevara||Holly Stanich||Tess Morgan||Bae Myeongsook||Alexandra Lewtas||Alanna Lovely (U/S Ivy)||Lara Sweeney||Susannah Crowell|
|Diane Lee||Kay Trinidad||Jennie Kwan||Kara Maguire||Reesa Ishiyama||Natalie Chua / Tash Holway||Gabi Liebowitz||Kathleen Donaldson||Selena Jerome||Lee Hyoo||Caroline Oayda||Anastasia Arnold||Rosa Samuels||Susan Johnson|
|Claire Simmonds||Kaitlin Hopkins||Maura Knowles (Understudy)||Kaitlin Hopkins||Alissa-Nicole Koblentz||Yvette Robinson / Nadine Cox||Rae Henderson||Courtney Scott-Donaldson||Briana Paine||Baek Joche||Penny Larkins||Anne Marie Lewis||Michelle Titherley||Emily Christine Smith|
An 11-song CD sampler featuring the 2004 New York cast was offered to every ticket buyer during the final performances of the off-Broadway run. The full studio album from Bare, produced by Deborah Lurie and Casey Stone, was released on October 30, 2007, as a three-disc CD + DVD set. The album can be purchased on Amazon.com. The 2012–2013 revival will be releasing a cast album.
bare the musical
|bare the musical|
Off-Broadway promotional poster
Lynne Shankel (additional music)
bare the musical, a new version of Bare: A Pop Opera, began previews Off-Broadway on November 19, 2012, and opened on December 9, 2012, at New World Stages. Bare returned to Off-Broadway for a limited run in June 2013 at The York Theatre Company. This production is produced by Sponge Theatricals and Midtown Arts Common as a benefit for the LGBTQ youth homeless shelter, Trinity Place Shelter. The revised musical was produced by Paul Boskind, Randy Taradash, Gregory Rae, Carl D. White, Carollo & Palumbo LLC, and Martian Entertainment. Musical supervision and additional songs in this production were by Lynne Shankel and Jon Hartmere. The creative team included director Stafford Arima, choreographer Travis Wall, set designer Donyale Werle, lighting designer Howell Binkley, costume designer Tristan Raines, sound designer Keith Caggiano, projection designer William Cusick, and hair and make up designer Leah J. Loukas. The musical closed on February 3, 2013.
Changes from the pop opera to the musical
Reasons to stage a new production of Bare included a greater awareness of bullying, the movement to legalize gay marriage, and an occurrence of LGBTQ suicides in the years following the 2004 production. In an article, Stafford Arima, the director of the current production, expressed his reasons, "Because of the timeliness of what's happening out there in the world, and because we have an author who is alive and living and present in this world, it only made sense to continue to evolve the piece so that it maintained its heart and its soul and its…guts,”.
Although the basic plot and message have remained constant, one of the major changes has been altering the format from that of a pop opera to a book musical. Jon Hartmere, who wrote the book and lyrics, commented about that revision, saying, "The biggest change [is] having more space to explore the characters [...] To know these characters a little bit better... you just need more room — you need more room for book scenes, and I personally just wanted to get under the hood and investigate a little bit further." 
Hartmere, Arima, Lynne Shankel (music supervision) and Travis Wall (choreography) analyzed the show with resulting changes that included making the St. Cecilia’s students’ relationships more complex, changing and removing characters, adding and removing songs, and incorporating current technology and social media. Although Damon Intrabartolo did not play an active role in the current production, Shankel consulted with him concerning the revisions in order to follow through with his primary intent.
The team also added the start of Peter and Jason’s relationship, took away the roommate aspect of their situation, and transferred the song “Role of a Lifetime” from Peter to Jason. No longer overweight, Nadia has been made the school drug dealer, and angry outcast. Ivy has been made a transfer student and is now dating Matt, reasons that provide a stronger basis for Nadia’s anger. The students throw a birthday party for Jason instead of Ivy. The character of Peter’s mother was eliminated, with aspects being incorporated into the progressive nun Sister Joan. Also added is the character of Father Mike. Both replace similar characters from the original production. The show's timeline is also very different. Jason does not break up with Ivy right away after break and 'Kiss Your Broken Heart'. Instead, they platonically date for a while. He breaks up with her right before 'Pilgrim's Hands' and reconciles with Peter after 'You're Not Alone'.
The below list is sourced from Playbill.
† Music by Lynne Shankel; lyrics by Jon Hartmere
†† Removed from song list prior to December 9 opening
The below list is sourced from Playbill.
|Nadia||Barrett Wilbert Weed|
|Sister Joan||Missi Pyle|
|Father Mike||Jerold E. Solomon|
|Diane||Alice Lee||Nadia understudy|
|Madison||Sara Kapner||Ivy understudy|
|Alan||Alex Wyse||Peter understudy|
|Beto||Justin Gregory Lopez||Matt understudy|
|Nick||Michael Tacconi||Jason understudy|
The inspiration for the set designed by Donyale Werle “came from looking at the way teenagers decorate and express themselves."  Applied to the surfaces of the set were 15,006 4 inch square photos that were provided through Instagram by fans, friends, and other sources. Additional inspiration was derived from stained glass windows in houses of worship, and Damien Hirst’s "Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven " and "Lullaby, the Seasons ". The imagery of squares repeated in the Instagram photos as well as in major elements of the set was representative of the boxes that people put both themselves and others in, how people identify themselves and others.
The costume design by Tristan Raines came at the musical from a different standpoint than what has normally been seen. Although there were still elements of a"uniform" or "dress code", Raines' explored how when given a template, how does one chooses to express themselves and break out of that said template. This caused the show to break down the visual barrier set out by a uniform and allowed the audience to see who the character really was. This aided in the goal of creating more character development within the story and allowed audiences to connect with the characters. The show boasted close to 150 different looks ranging from the fashionable, the "emo puppy dog", Pop diva inspired Virgin Mary, to thrifted steampunk Romeo and Juliet costumes.
The projection design by William Cusick included pre-taped projections as well as the use of live feeds from on-stage cell phones. The audience viewed the live feeds. Cusick commented about the use of the images, "We speak and read in images now in a way that, fifty years ago, wasn't necessary for theater. For a show like this, about images of self and identity, it is absolutely necessary." 
Advocacy & Power
Bares' popularity and power stems from its honesty. It resonates with audiences as it provides truthful accounts of the common complexities that teenagers face. It inspires youth, by showcasing the ability to break past the institutions of religion, education and family, that can force us to confirm and hide behind a mask, rather than live a fulfilled life.
Bare is a significant piece within the history of gay theatre. It utilises a community of both gay and straight people, in order to show the 'bare' humanity of the issues each individual face, rather than sexuality being the forefront of their struggles. LGBT Youth are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual equals, not because of their sexuality but the harassment, discrimination and stress of anti-gay stigma they receive. Although, the musical itself sends a powerful message to LGBTQ youth, producers embraced their influence and message by partnering with organizations that support LGBTQ equality including The Tyler Clementi Foundation, Athlete Ally, Human Rights Campaign and Faith in America.
They organized a series of talkOUTs, discussion sessions after performances, which were presented by representatives from the above foundations. The talkOUTs also included representatives from the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), Empire State Pride Agenda, the Point Foundation, and Rabbi Michael Mellen, a former director of NFTY, along with the producers, creative team, and cast. The producers, creative team, and cast also showed support for the NOH8 Campaign.
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sydeny review 2010 http://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/bare