Rock Musical Bare Strips Down and Explores New Turf in Off-Broadway "Revisal"

By Michael Gioia
22 Nov 2012

Barrett Wilbert Weed
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

As for Jason's sister, Nadia, Arima explained that her anger "comes from a more complex place now," and she is no longer depressed solely for being the group's "Plain Jane Fat Ass" (a song from earlier versions). Barrett Wilbert Weed, who plays Nadia, added, "From my conversations with Jon and Stafford, I think it was very important to them that [Nadia] not feel isolated or be a dark character or be sad just because of her physical shape. It should be more of a psychological thing." Nadia now has her heart broken by Matt (Gerard Canonico), who begins to date St. Cecilia's newest transfer student, Ivy (Elizabeth Judd).

"The cool thing about this production, specifically for Ivy, is that they filled out her character — where she's come from," said Judd, who takes on the show's misunderstood leading lady, Ivy. Hartmere explained that re-envisioning that character as a transfer student and setting her up with Matt has justified Nadia's anger toward her.

New to the plot are the characters of Father Mike (Jerold E. Solomon) and Sister Joan (Missi Pyle), who oversee the high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. They replace similar characters from the 2004 staging — the Priest and Sister Chantelle, respectively. Arima explained, "As Jon and I and the team were working on the show, [we were] figuring out how each character serve[s] the narrative" and discovered "economical ways for us to bring [certain] characters together." With the deletion of Peter's mother, fans of the show who know the property from the studio recording or regional productions can expect Sister Joan to take on a maternal role as well.

Changes in character prompted changes in song. Tunes such as "See Me," a duet between Peter and his mother, and "A Quiet Night at Home," a heartbreaking ballad for Nadia, are no longer part of the revised edition. "I think the biggest job for me, in coming into this, is to make sure that this sounds like a cohesive score," said music supervisor Shankel, who composed new material for the show, augmenting the work of original composer Itrabartolo. "[Damon Intrabartolo] and I spent some time together… so I would know all of the things that are important to him, musically."

Although Intrabartolo is not attached to the current Off-Broadway staging, he has had multiple conversations with Shankel and Arima about the piece. Shankel added, "The heart of this is Damon and Jon. It always has been, and it always will be."