I had argued that it wasn’t a good idea to bring Bare back to New York, at least not in a very, very expensive way. I knew the writers had good intentions, but really, this revival was unnecessary as last year’s revival of Rent. I saw the third-to-last performance last Saturday and although I did enjoy watching it, the one word that absolutely describes it is contrived.
The popular jock and the nerdy gay boy get into a relationship? Check. The jock is insecure with himself and sleeps with the stereotypical slutty chick? Check. The stereotypical slutty chick ends up getting pregnant because, of course, they didn’t use a condom? Check. The typical nice high school guy gets screwed over when trying to court the stereotypical slutty chick? Check. I can’t think of one scenario in Bare that I hadn’t seen played out somewhere else before last Saturday. The high schoolers were all caricatures of every type you’d expect.
That said: I enjoyed myself. The set was super cool, some of the music was melodic, the cast was great. and I felt like I was experiencing part of musical theatre history. This show had high hopes of getting to Broadway in 2004 before the Dodgers went broke (and apparently it was a completely different show back then – maybe less contrived?). I had many friends who’d loved it, though I’d never had the chance to see it.
Alex Wyse was completely fantastic as Peter, and Jason Hite was good as Jason (although his voice got a bit whiny at times). I enjoyed seeing Missi Pyle onstage. This was also my first time seeing Gerard Canonico in a non-ensemble role and he was quite great. He has a great voice, and he moves really well (I completely missed this someone in American Idiot).
While I’m glad I got to experience it, I think Bare may have been better left in the time capsule back in 2004, as it was just no longer as edgy as it probably was back then.