‘Bare’: After ending its run, the musical leaves a lasting impression

 

The company of Bare sings "Million Miles From Heaven."

The company of Bare sings “Million Miles From Heaven.”

 

There are some shows that you will see that are bad, some that are great, and then there are shows that change your life. This, for me, that life-changing show was bare.

I had the opportunity to see the show twice, once in previews and again the weekend before it closed. Normally, in the midst of the bitter winter, I will refrain from rushing shows, but when I had heard that this show had announced its closing date, about two and a half weeks ago, I couldn’t pass up any opportunity to see it again.

For those of you who don’t know, Bare the Musical also known as bare has played its final performance at New World Stages earlier this evening. This revisal was an adaption of the original Bare: A Pop Opera which originally made its New York City debut in October 2000. The revisal featured numerous songs from the original as well as many new songs.

Bare has a message of acceptance that everyone needs to hear.

This show hit home. There was something magical about it. When people would ask me if they should see bare, I didn’t give it a second thought. The answer was always yes.

No matter who you are, you can find someone in this show to relate to whether it is the nerd, someone who doesn’t fit in, or the jock. If you are someone who hates labels, this show is still for you. Everyone is represented. Something special about this show was that everyone in the ensemble cared about the story and you could tell. You could tell how much the actors were putting themselves and their own struggles and their own personalities on stage.

The production was beautiful. From the projections to the over five hundred lighting cues (a lighting designer’s worse nightmare), it’s a visual masterpiece.

Taylor Trensch (Peter; Left) and Jason Hite (Jason; Right) in Bare.

Taylor Trensch (Peter; Left) and Jason Hite (Jason; Right) in Bare.

 

When reviews first came out, people were comparing it to Spring Awakening, which had enormous success in its run. But in so many ways, this show is so much more accessible. The dancing in SA felt forced but in this, the choreography shouldn’t have worked, but it did. You could tell in every dance what each person’s relationship was whether they were doing the same choreography or different choreography, it worked. The choreography was in segments but it was also tailored towards every character, so that it seemed that everyone was doing different movements, which seems unreasonable and unconnected, but it wasn’t. This made the production more beautiful, discombobulated in theory, but beautiful.   I couldn’t believe that I had doubted Travis Wall before I had seen the show because it adds so much. As a former dancer, I had forgotten what it means to have such meaningful choreography, but this honestly made me remember.

The set when you first walk into the theatre is exactly what you see in all the production shots and the montage but so much smaller. It feels intimate. Everything is flashed up in projections and beautiful on the little pictures and the set moves in trap doors and weird ways, ones that you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t paying attention, but it is the greatest way to utilize a small space.

I want to say so much about the casting because it was perfect. Taylor Trensch, who plays Peter, really shines. Taylor isn’t the strongest singer, but I’m going to venture out and say that he is one of the most talented actors on the Great White Way. The tears in his eyes as he ended the show were real. In those moments, and throughout the show, Taylor made me believe that he was Peter.  Each cast member has a developed character and it is so obvious, that they each know who they are, and that they have put so much of themselves into this show.

To clear something up, Bare the Musical is different from Bare: A Pop Opera. I love the original, and the story is close to the same, but close to all of the dialogue is changed, and most of the song lyrics have been changed, but they are more honest and they work better than the original. You can see yourself as a teenager saying these lines.

If you haven’t seen anything from the show, you won’t know that the costumes are so different from the original. They are brighter in color and contrast against the set. Each costume piece, aside from the uniform blazer, adds so much to the performance in that it contributes to what we think of as a stereotype for each group of people. I think that the changes they made are necessary and that they added so much to the show, so much so that everyone can enjoy.

This show is hilarious and brilliant and moving and incredible. This show moved me to tears. The first time that I saw it, I was numb and had tears streaming down my face as I walked out of the theatre.

Taylor Trensch (Peter; Right) and Jason Hite (Jason; Left) share their first kiss.

Taylor Trensch (Peter; Right) and Jason Hite (Jason; Left) share their first kiss.

 

The show has so much love and makes you care about the characters and their happiness even though you want to hate them so badly. You want Jason to be alive, and you want Peter to be out of the closet, you want ignorance end. You want to be able to tell Father Mike that he needs to embrace his homophobia. You want to be best friends with Diane and bring Nadia and Ivy together. You want Matt to be happy.

There is something for everyone in this show. It embraces every social issue that kids are dealing with today and then some by bringing Romeo and Juliet to life on a stage in an extremely creative way. This show hits home. These are things that are left unsaid and they are perfectly conveyed in this show, and I’m thankful that they are because now the things that teens were not allowed to say are finally being said.

If you couldn’t tell by now, this show, meant a lot to me. Its closing is breaking my heart. This was the first show that I really felt touched me in a way that other shows have not. It’s important for other people to hear these messages, all over the world, this show can deplete ignorance, and I’m grateful for that. I laughed and I cried and so will so many other people as this show goes out into the world.

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the producers, of the show, Peter Boskind, who happened to be sitting two seats away when I saw the show last weekend, and he posed a question. “Why is it important?” And I could answer the question. It seems so stupid and simple, but it meant a lot that I could answer the question. I know what it’s important.

I am Ivy and I am Alan and I am Peter and I am Jason. I’m am undefined and yet represented. While watching this show, I am bare.

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