Sunday, June 5, 2011

BARE • New Line Theatre

Some themes are universal.  The high school years tend to expose many of these coming-of-age themes -- especially at a co-ed Catholic Boarding School -- where you might happen to be gay.  With about 33 songs and very little dialogue, BARE (or alternatively, BARE:  A POP OPERA) is truly a pop opera.  When this show was first presented in 2000, there were some comparisons to RENT, but I think I liked this one better.
The kids are getting ready to put on the school play, ROMEO AND JULIET.  Within this framework, we see the struggles of Jason and Peter's attraction to each other -- Peter willing to be "out", and Jason, trying to stay "in".
This show pretty thoroughly defines familiar high school archetypes, including Jason (a convincing Jacob Golliher), the popular hunky jock heartthrob, who is secretly carrying on with Peter, (a starry-eyed Mike Dowdy).  Jason's sister Nadia (an impressive Charlotte Byrd), is the overweight kid "with such a pretty face" and her nemesis and roommate Ivy (Terrie Carolan) is popular with the fellas -- an eventual victim of her own "hot girl" reputation.  Ivy, cast as Juliet in the school play, has a thing for Jason (can't blame her) who has been cast as Romeo.  Meanwhile, Matt (Jonathan Foster) is hot for Ivy (can't blame him, either).  When he catches Jason and Peter having a moment, he keeps it in his head -- for the time being.  Things reach a boiling point with Peter and his feelings about Jason, so he consults the priest (solid New Line fave Zachary Allen Farmer) for comfort and direction, but typically, Peter is advised to just try not to think about it.  The cat is eventually let out of the bag, along with some other developments, and the ending takes you by surprise.
The cast of New Line Theatre's "BARE."
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
I was immediately struck with how good this ensemble sounded together.  Great voices, namely Mike Dowdy as Peter and Charlotte Byrd, who knocks it out of the park as Nadia.  Byrd also has a nice turn at the cello.  Nikki Glenn adds a humorous spark as Sr. Chantelle, and has some very nice moments -- particularly as one of the few people who is on Peter's side.  Alison Helmer also gives a sincere performance as Peter's mom, wanting to be there for him but horrified at the realization that her son is gay.  Rahamses Galvan as Lucas, the school drug dealer, also does a fine job in his big number, "Wonderland".  The entire cast displays that New Line energy that director Scott Miller always seems to draw out, and the New Line band sounded great.  The contemporary score for this show has a lot of interesting music -- unpredictable and surprising melodies that made me want to buy the recording, and the cast and band handled it all beautifully.  The costumes by Thom Crain and lighting by Kenneth Zinkl were perfect and the set by Todd Schaefer is simple, efficient and draws you in, with a lit cross tilted towards the audience.
Jonathan Foster (Matt), Terrie Carolan (Ivy), Jacob Golliher (Jason),
Mike Dowdy (Peter) and Charlotte Byrd (Nadia)
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

Check it out for some great music and memorable performances.
Written by Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo
Book by Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo
Lyrics by Jon Hartmere Jr.
Music by Damon Intrabartolo
Directed by Scott Miller
Washington University South Campus Theatre, 6501 Clayton Road
through June 25 | tickets: $10 - $20
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm 
Jacob Golliher (as Jason), Mike Dowdy (Peter), Terrie Carolan (Ivy), Charlotte Byrd (Nadia), Jonathan Foster (Matt), Rahamses Galvan (Lucas), Nyssa Duchow (Diane), Zachary Allen Farmer (Priest), Nikki Glenn (Sr. Chantelle), Alison Helmer (Claire), Chance Kilgour (Zack), Andréa Kimberling (Kyra), Sarah Porter (Rory), John Michael Rotello (Alan), and Michelle Sauer (Tanya).
Costume design by Thom Crain; scenic design by Todd Schaefer; lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl; dance captain, Michelle Sauer; stage manager, Trisha Bakula.
The New Line Band:
Piano/conductor, Justin Smolik; lead guitar/flute, D. Mike Bauer; rhythm guitar, Aaron Doerr; bass, Dave Hall; percussion, Clancy Newell; keyboard, Sue Goldford.

No comments:

Post a Comment