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Theatre / Bare: A Pop Opera

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Bare, or bare: a pop opera, is a musical by Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo. The musical focuses on the relationship between two homosexual Roman Catholic students and the challenges they face with their own identities and others' perceptions.

The story centers on the school's theater production of Romeo and Juliet. Peter Simons and Jason McConnell have a secret relationship. Peter is comfortable with his sexuality and the relationship (and has been wanting to tell his mother he's gay since he was 12), while Jason, a popular athlete, is hesitant to come out due to his religious beliefs and his fears about the impact the information would have on his relationships with his parents, friends and life. While the first musical number, "Epiphany", features Peter having a nightmare about his fears of being shunned by everyone he knows after coming out, Peter, unlike Jason, knows that he is gay and has accepted it as a fact. Peter worries about the social impact coming out would have, but he still wants to come out. Jason, on the other hand, is still struggling with, "Am I gay or not? Is my loving Peter a sin the way the Church says it is? Wouldn't my life be ruined if everyone found out?" There are other characters, such as Jason's twin sister, Nadia McConnell (aka Plain Jane Fat Ass), Ivy Robinson (the foil to Peter; her main problem comes from falling in love with Jason), Matt Lloyd (the guy who comes in second to Jason in everything), Diane Lee (the Perfect Catholic Girl), The Priest (who perfectly parrots Catholic doctrine but who has no compassion), Sister Chantelle, Claire (Peter's divorced mother), and Lucas (the school's drug dealer).

The students experiment with drugs, sex and alternative beliefs to their religion. Hilarity Ensues. Except it doesn't.

It was never on Broadway, but briefly ran off-Broadway in 2004 after opening in Los Angeles in 2000. It returned as a book musical (with many songs and characters changed or omitted) to off-Broadway in 2012. The studio recording was released in 2007.

This musical provides examples of:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ivy to Jason.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: An aside from Peter to Jason, regarding the giant penis pinata another student has brought to Ivy's party.
  • Busby Berkeley Number / Live-Action Disney Acid Sequence: In some productions, Peter's dream sequences are taken as opportunities to bring out the big spectacle.
  • BSoD Song: Peter and Ivy both have them. As does Claire, after Peter attempts to tell her about his sexuality.
    • Jason has one, too, although YMMV on whether it's or "Once Upon a Time," where he mourns his lost relationship and gives himself over to God or "Cross," where he looks to the priest for comfort only to be told that his sexual orientation is "not okay". Given that these songs are back to back, as him giving himself over to God involved confession, both songs can be seen as being a BSOD two-parter.
  • Break-Up Song: "Ever After".
  • Broken Ace: Jason.
  • Broken Bird: Although it appears her pregnancy is the breaking point, Ivy's song "All Grown Up" implies her broken-ness comes from years back.
  • Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: Inevitable, really.
  • Coax Them Out of the Closet: The song "911! Emergency!" is about the Virgin Mary appearing to the closeted Peter in order to convince him to come out to his parents.
  • Confessional: Confessions are a frequently used plot device here.
    • "Confession" is a directly named, lively group number about how confession is arbitrary.
    • "Cross" is Jason's confession where he asks Father Flynn if God still loves him. Father dances around the question with empty platitudes about how Jason needed to deny his sexuality. He refuses to show the empathy that Jason needed in that moment.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Ivy dumps Matt for Jason. Matt does not take this well.
  • Crisis of Faith: The entire cast is composed of Catholic high-schoolers. Do the math.
    • Of particular note in that vein: "Are You There" (Matt/Peter) and "Confession" (most of the cast).
  • Crystal-Ball Scheduling: Played with. Jason dies for real on stage while playing Romeo, as a result of a secret relationship coming to light, but not during what's traditionally the character's death scene. Jason and Ivy, who plays Juliet, aren't the real relationship the show is riding on, but they do hookup. Jason and Peter, who is playing Mercutio, are playing best friends, which is how others outside see them, but they are actually a couple.
  • Cure Your Gays: Peter at various times attempted to "pray the gay away". He talks blatantly it about "Role of a Lifetime", in passing in "See Me", and in "Bare" about how it didn't work. It is implied that Jason has tried extensively to do so as well.
    • Jason sleeping with Ivy was a more visceral example of him trying to force himself into being straight.
  • Deadly Sparring: In rehearsal in "Reputation Stain'd", a fight scene between Jason and Matt (Romeo and Tybalt respectively), becomes real with the fight choreography abandoned after Matt calls Jason a faggot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nadia.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Peter cradles Jason in his arms as Jason dies.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Peter's dream - the song "Epiphany" - incorporates the first parts of Matt's graduation speech after Jason dies near the end of the opera word for word.
  • Drugs Are Bad: And they're what kill Jason.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After Ivy ditches him for Jason at her birthday party, Matt digs up a bottle of communion wine and gets incredibly drunk.
  • From Roommates to Romance: Peter and Jason have been roommates since 7th grade.
  • Gay Euphemism: Given that the word "gay" is only used once, these are abound.
  • Grief Song: The finale "No Voice".
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "God Don't Make No Trash"
    Sister Chantelle: You're who you need to be/'Cause love is love, love is truth, love is God/And love will set you free
  • Foil: The Priest to Sister Chantelle. Nadia to Ivy. Ivy to Peter. Matt to Jason.
  • Fairytale Motifs: These show up consistently, and are especially apparent in "Ever After" — which is essentially a break up song told in references to fairytales, heroes, and soulmates.
  • Gayngst: Jason. Dear GOD, Jason.
  • Gayngst-Induced Suicide: Jason and Peter, are a gay couple at a Catholic boarding school. Jason ultimately dies of a drug overdose in an implied suicide, though Peter survives to admonish the school for driving him to it.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Ivy Robinson.
  • Hidden Depths: Ivy is much more than the town bicycle.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Depending on the production, Nadia is closer to this than actually fat (depending on the actress playing her). In these cases, she suffers instead a body image disorder.
  • Hookers and Blow: Sex, drugs, and raves are standard for the characters. No actual hookers, of course.
  • Intoxication Ensues: At Ivy's birthday party, Peter consumes multiple pot brownies without realizing they're pot brownies.
  • In Vino Veritas: Peter came out to Matt while drunk and high.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Jason to Ivy in "Touch My Soul". After Ivy tells him that she love him, he states that he can't love her back, for reasons not related to her — awkwardly as he isn't coming out yet.
  • "I Want" Song: "Plain Jane Fat Ass" is a rather bitter one from Nadia.
  • Karma Houdini: Lucas. To be fair, he didn't mean to kill Jason via OD.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: At first it appears that Nadia and Ivy are being set up this way. However Nadia has an emotional hardness to her, and Ivy is a lot more fragile than she puts on.
  • Mood Whiplash: May be more or less pronounced depending on the production. Some notable examples:
    • "A Quiet Night At Home" being wedged between "Wonderland" and "Rolling"
    • "Ever After" and "Spring"
    • "God Don't Make No Trash" and "All Grown Up"
  • Naughty by Night: The characters party extremely hard, thanks in part to Lucas.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Lucas performs, according to the stage directions, "a very white boy rap" in the song "Wonderland," explaining the effects of his party drugs: ecstasy, K, and GHB.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Way to go, you got me pregnant, put that in your fucking speech."
  • Reprise Medley: The act one finale "One" contains reprises to "One Kiss", "Auditions", "You & I", and "Are You There".
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The twins Nadia and Jason.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: "Once Upon a Time" and "Cross". After all hell breaks loose, Jason turns to God and the Church.
  • Rapid-Fire Interrupting: Claire does when her son Peter attempts to come out to her in "See Me", interrupting multiple times right when he's about to say the word "gay" as she's not ready to face the matter.
  • The Resenter: Matt to Jason.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Sister Chantelle.
  • School Play: The school puts on Romeo and Juliet.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Matt Lloyd.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Peter and Jason. Or rather technically an end of the first act break up.
  • Secret Relationship: Peter and Jason.
  • Senior Year Struggles: All of the characters are seniors in their last semester of high school.
  • Sex with the Ex: Peter and Jason fall into bed together during "All Grown Up".
  • Song of Prayer: This is inevitable really given that this musical is sung through and all of the characters are Catholic in a Catholic setting. "Are You There?" and "Once Upon a Time" are probably the most straightforward examples, but these themes run throughout the show. Several songs incorporate sections of traditional prayers into the lyrics.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Lucas.
    Lucas: The apothecary's open, come get your shit.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Romeo and Juliet, Jason and Peter.
  • Straight Gay: Peter and Jason
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Peter sets up a rhyme to tell Claire that he's gay, but she cuts him off leaving the couplet hanging.
    Peter: God, this is so hard to say/ I'm so afraid you'll turn away/ Mom, I'm—
    Claire: Peter, please, I need a break
  • Suspiciously Specific Sermon: Peter's nightmare in "Epiphany" takes the form of this.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Ivy.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Baseball bat in "You & I".
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Peter.


Video Example(s):


Peter Confronts the Priest

After Jason's suicide, Peter confronts the priest that made him believe his sexuality was a sin

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Example of:

Main / Gayngst

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