Enthusiastic audiences at The American Theatre of Actors prompted an extension of the show to May 27. Shepherded by the powerful producers Dodger Stage Holding and Jack Grossbart/Marc Schwartz, the production — with a Broadway-caliber design team — began performances March 25 and opened April 19.
Sold-out houses (including the last two performances May 26 and 27) anticipate the fall commercial Off-Broadway transfer Sept. 21, likely at the new DodgerStages complex. A theatre has not been officially announced, though the Sept. 21 date has. Rewrites based on the spring tryout are expected.
The mostly sung-through show seemed to come out of nowhere, though it did win awards and fans in a Los Angeles run. Its collaborators are twentysomethings new to the American musical theatre scene. The original show they created in Bare might be thought of as a merging of Rent and "Dead Poets Society," but set in a Catholic boarding school. Sex, sexuality, self expression, guilt, jealously and religion all play into the plot, which overflows with the kind of urgency and intensity associated with being 17.
The libretto is by Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, with music by Intrabartolo and lyrics by Hartmere.
Director Kristin Hanggi and choreographer Sergio Trujillo created often arresting images in a staging that, though spartan, was confident within the confines of the small ATA space (the same West 54th Street space where Urinetown had its 2001 developmental run before Broadway). The cast includes Michael Arden, Jenna Leigh Green, Kearran Giovanni, John Hill, Natalie Joy Johnson, Aaron Lohr, Sasha Allen, Romelda Benjamin, Isaac Calpito, Mike Cannon, Adam Fleming, Kaitlin Hopkins, Jim Price, Lindsay Scott, Kay Trinidad and Scott Allgauer.
Here's Bare according to the producers: "Bare explores the pains and pleasures of five high school seniors at a co-ed Catholic boarding school as they struggle to grow up in these complicated, conflicted, contemporary times. Each of them question where they are in their lives. Answers are sought in the church confessional and in less formal venues including a stage, a rave, and a well-locked dorm room."
Associate producers are William M. Apfelbaum and Amanda DuBois.
The design team features David Gallo (scenic), David Woolard (costumes), Mike Baldassari (lighting) and Domonic Sack (sound). Music direction and orchestration are by Damon Intrabartolo. Music coordinator is John Miller. Vocal arrangements are by Jesser Vargas.
The musical won the L.A. Weekly Award for Best Musical, the Ovation Award for Best Musical and the L.A. Drama Critics Award for Best Score. When Bare was originally produced in Los Angeles, it was supposed to run for 32 performances at an 87-seat theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard. Four months later, it had become a multi award-winning sensation created by two 26-year-old writers and a 23-year-old director.
In the final performances of the ATA run, an 11-song CD sampler featuring the New York cast was offered to every ticket buyer. It was recorded by Sh-K-Boom's Kurt Deutsch. A plan for a complete cast album has not been announced, but a spokesman for Sh-K-Boom said its website (offering free download of the Bare highlights) has been getting a lot of Bare-related traffic. Visit www.sh-K-boom.come.
For more information, visit www.bareapopopera.com.