“Bare” reaches out to LGBTQ+ community, young audiences

Go see the regional premiere of “Bare: A Pop Opera.” The thrilling and emotional story follows the secret relationship between Jason and Peter, two adolescent Catholic boys concealing their sexuality from their classmates at St. Cecilia’s Boarding School. With music by Damon Intrabartolo and lyrics by Jon Hartmere, “Bare” is a smart adaptation that features a pulsating rock and pop score, clever one-liners and meaningful, poetic lyrics. The story is framed like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and also makes several references to the story of Christ and the crucifixion.

The production will not leave you disappointed. The cast members brings their best to each role, developing characters that contribute their own charm to the plot and make the production three-dimensional. Bailey Walker and Sarah Walker, both attending the Musical Theatre Program here at the U, are superbly talented singers and actors. Katie Evans, who plays Nadia, commands the stage and channels the personality of the foul-mouthed nurse while remaining vulnerable and singing beautifully. Brock Dalgleish brings us through some terrific highs and terrible lows in his role as Jason, and the fact that he was half-naked throughout the show was nothing to complain about.

The creative team also makes smart choices that make the show cohesive and interesting. The costumes and set are red and blue, a reference to the Capulets and Montagues as well as symbolic of heaven and hell. The use of the space and the movement of the actors was well-defined, appropriate and plain entertaining.

What was the best part of this show? The fact that it had a full house. What this production has done successfully is produce a piece of art for a community that’s not usually given much attention, especially in Utah. Not just the LGBTQ+ community, but also young people. Through casting and marketing, Utah Rep created a production that was applicable and meaningful to younger people, which is usually considered the holy grail of audiences. How do you get young people to attend theatre? You do theatre about young people.

What also makes this production great is its dedication to community engagement. Fifteen percent of ticket sales for this production will go to support OUTreach, a non-profit youth support organization. OUTreach currently serves over 500 youths a year though prevention, intervention and crisis response. The organization’s mission to serve homeless or suicidal adolescents is certainly in alignment with the content of the show. Theatre should not only reflect societal issues but also strive to provide alternatives and avenues for action. It’s a nice change to see theatre be as supportive of a community as a community is supportive of the team making the art.

“Bare” is playing now until Jan. 31. Tickets have sold out for many shows, but it might not be too late if you purchase your tickets as soon as possible. “Bare” is being performed at the Sugar Space Warehouse Theater, River District, located at 130 S 800 W in Salt Lake. This show is relevant, beautifully executed and is striving to actually affect the audience who attend it. Go see it.

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@ChronyArts