In London’s (Off) West End 2019: Bare – A Pop Opera at The Vaults
LONDON – You have no idea how long we’ve been waiting to hear for a production of Bare: A Pop Opera to happen. While it certainly hasn’t gained as much traction as a big West End or Broadway musical, Bare boasts some truly memorable songs to make this inspired-by-Romeo-and-Juliet queer rock opera one that will no doubt resonate with countless audience members.
With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, issues such as repression, rejection and suicide remain major topics that need to be tackled and further highlighted, one that Bare encapsulates in its narrative and music. With music by Damon Intrabartolo and lyrics by Jon Hartmere, who together wrote the book, Bare follows a group of high school seniors navigating drugs, sex and queer identity at a Catholic boarding school. More specifically, they’re preparing for a staging Romeo and Juliet, and while a secret relationship begins to brew between two male students.
As faith is questioned, the boys fear coming out and romantic rivalry begins to flare up, the show must go on! Bare delves into the minds of the students of St Cecilia’s as they each have their own coming-of-age epiphanies, using its almost completely sung-through pop score, heart-pounding lyrics and a cast of bright young characters, to deliver a fresh, honest look at the dangers of baring your soul and the consequences of continuing to hide, filled with love and friendship, and the heartbreak and turmoil that faces each and every one of us at every stage of life.
Says director Julie Atherton: “I’m so excited to work on this show as I love theatre that challenges archaic ‘one size fits all’ systems and raises important questions. It’s hard to believe that this piece is still so relevant today and that in 2019 (and even in our own theatre community) we are still fighting homophobia.”
The cast of Bare will include Broadway’s Stacy Francis as Sister Chantelle and the West End’s own Jo Napthine as Claire. Taking on the role of the Priest is Mark Jardine, while Darragh Cowley and Daniel Mack Shand take on the lead roles as Golden Boy Jason and his star-crossed lover Peter respectively. Joining them are Georgie Lovatt in her professional debut, Tom Hier, Bradley Connor and Athena Collins, along with Georgia Bradshaw, Liv Alexander in her professional debut and Beccy Lane, with Tom Scanlon, Alexander Moneypenny, and Hollie Ann Lowe.
Adds producer Jason Shand-Rodger: “This is an incredible show that needs to be seen. We want to create a production that is innovative, dynamic and inspiring, and The Vaults is the perfect 2 setting to allow you to really feel part of this amazing story. With the current uncertainty around the world in relation to human rights and equality it is important these issues are brought to light and that this story is told for people to connect with. Bare is a show not only for musical theatre fans but for anyone who has faced adversity or experienced love in its purest form.”
Bare: A Pop Opera runs from 21st June to 4th August 2019 at The Vaults. Tickets available here