Review Roundup: BARE Opens Off-Broadway
The new incarnation of the rock musical Bare opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages on Sunday, December 9, 2012. Featuring music by Damon Intrabartolo and book & lyrics by Jon Hartmere, Bare is directed by Olivier Award nominee Stafford Arima (Carrie, Altar Boyz) and choreographed by Emmy Award nominee Travis Wall ("So You Think You Can Dance"). Additional music is by Hartmere and Lynne Shankel (Altar Boyz, Cry-Baby, Company). Music supervision and arrangements are also by Lynne Shankel.
The company features Jason Hite (Jason), Taylor Trensch (Peter) and Elizabeth Judd (Ivy), with Gerard Canonico (Matt), Jerold E. Solomon (Father Mike), Barrett Wilbert Weed (Nadia) and Missi Pyle (Sister Joan). They are joined by Anthony Festa (Swing), Casey Garvin (Zack), Ariana Groover (Vanessa), Sara Kapner (Madison), Alice Lee (Diane), Megan Lewis (Swing), Justin Gregory Lopez (Beto), Michael Tacconi (Nick) and Alex Wyse (Alan).
Bare is an exhilarating new rock musical that follows a group of teens trying to navigate the tightrope to adulthood over the minefield of high school. Along with their teachers, they will wrestle with issues of identity, sexuality, religion and love.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
David Rooney, The New York Times: Like the "Carrie" redux before it, the new "Bare" seems a bland attempt to reboard the emotional roller coaster of adolescent ecstasy and agony that was the musical "Spring Awakening." Travis Wall's somewhat random gesture-based choreography only makes that comparison more obvious.
Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: Regrettably, "Bare" sags from the same overly familiar and narrow focus that worked against it in a developmental version I'd seen in 2004. It seems more than ever stuck in a time warp. The kids on stage may carry iPhones, but the psychology seems rooted in another decade, definitely one pre-"Glee"...Despite predictable turns and characters...there are funny lines. Some of the songs are surprisingly big-hearted and affecting. Movement by Travis Wall ("So You Think You Can Dance?") adds flow and energy. Director Stafford Arima, who covered another chapter of adolescent behavior in the short-lived musical "Carrie," has assembled a talented cast that is uniformly strong. Barrett Wilbert Weed, as Jason's druggy goth sister, stands out with her honeyed vocals. And Missi Pyle brings down the house as the Virgin Mary in a glittery nightclub act. Pyle steals the show. If that's a sin, amen to that.