Bare: A Pop Opera

If there is one thing I am passionate about, it is musicals. This is the first of five articles of what I would consider emotional musicals. The first musical I am going to discuss is Bare: A Pop Opera which originated off Broadway in 2004, but was later revised and brought to Broadway as Bare: The Musical.

Being a Senior in high school is hard enough without being gay in a Catholic Boarding School. Bare deals with homosexuality, religion, death and sexuality. In this coming-of-age musical you will meet two star-crossed lovers named Jason who happens to be the popular all-star basketball player and valedictorian and Peter, his slightly geeky actor boyfriend, who have yet come out. Both of the teenagers pour their hearts out throughout the musical struggling with their feelings for each other, the fear of coming out and their conflicting religious beliefs.

In the opening number "Epiphany", you hear Peter's fears of his classmates and family's reactions to him coming out during a daymare he has in class. He tries to convince his classmates and teacher that "it doesn't make sense, what I feel is real" and "but it doesn't all make sense if the love is strong". At the end of the song, Peter is suddenly at a funeral as he asks "Is it I, Lord, is it I?" fearing that he may be the one in the casket. The repetition of "Abomination" will chill you.

He wakes up from his fears and meets with Jason who's skipped class, the flirtation begins, leading into "You and I" but is constantly interrupted by girls. Everywhere they go, girls follow them asking Jason about his phone number and who he's talking to prom. Jason tells him "This is all just a game" and "While we whisper in hallways, I'll be with you always". Peter tells him they'll tell his mother then who brushes it off by saying, "Let's lay off the crack".

In "Role Of A Lifetime", we hear Peter questioning what he has with Jason. He says he knows God wants Jason to have a trophy bride and children, then asks "But Jason, what role do I play? Am I savior or a saint, am I here to damn you or to help you navigate this maze, where confusion is a crime". He finishes the song by knowing he just has to pretend, "once again we play pretend and reprise our roles".

As we move through the musical, we meet Nadia, Jason's twin sister who's insecure ("Plain Jane Fatass") but covers it up by acting tough and who is in love with Matt, a guy who happens to be in love with the rumored to be the school harlot, Ivy ("Portrait Of A Girl"), Nadia's roommate who is in love with Jason ("One Kiss").

The one voice of reason is Sister Chantelle who is in charge of the Romeo and Juliet production and offers advice to Peter. Peter eventually reaches out to his mom, Claire ("See Me") about his sexuality. Claire sings her own thoughts when the call ends ("Warning"). She battles with how to feel "Did I ever know my son at all? Well now I know too much, but where was the warning? How can this be? I guess there are some things we don't want to see."

In this twisted web of romance, no one comes out unscarred. Peter and Jason break up over their differences ("Ever After"). An unexpected event leads to Ivy being pregnant ("All Grown Up") and Jason and Peter being out of the closet ("Promise"). You'll feel the emotion pour out as Ivy sings her heart-wrenching song "All Grown Up" to Ivy who wishes she could trade lives because she's pretty. Your heart will ache for both Ivy ("Touch My Soul") and Matt who face unrequited romances. Jason reveals his vulnerability to the priest in what is one of the most emotionally draining songs of the musical as he asks for answers ("Cross"). Peter and Jason reunite as they sing the title song "Bare", "I've never been this bare/I've never been so scared". Finally, you'll lose your breath at the end of this powerful, thought-provoking musical and the end of Peter and Jason's journey.

This is one musical you do not want to miss. It deals with several teen issues realistically, mostly homosexuality and religion. This musical is unique because it delves into two religious people who are fighting their feelings and struggling to figure out what is right and wrong. You will find the characters relatable and get lost in their story.

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