Play on LGBT Youth Gets to the ’BARE’ Bones

by Lisa Lipsey

Rage Monthly

Friday July 4, 2014

Diversionary Theatre welcomes the San Diego premiere of a contemporary rock musical about identity, sexuality and religion, "BARE: A Pop Opera." Music and lyrics are by Damon Intrabartolo, with book and additional lyrics by Jon Hartmere, Jr.

The premise of "BARE" is as follows: A group of teens in a Catholic boarding school wrestle with big questions about who they love, who they are and who they answer to. As these young people take the leap from adolescence to adulthood, despite their fears about what's on the other side, they must learn to look for the answers within.

Diversionary Theatre cast Dylan Mulvaney in the lead role of Peter, whose experiences resonate with his own teenage years. Mulvaney is an out and proud San Diego native who says he first fell in love with "BARE" when he saw it in New York City. "I relate 'Peter' to who I was, not who I am now. He's a gay kid growing up in a private Catholic boarding school. It's a show about how to become an adult and issues that are universal. It's about how to be safe and how to be comfortably LGBT."

Mulvaney is particularly excited by the music, which ranges in feel from today's top contemporary hits to rock and acoustic, to more traditional musical theatre sounds. "It is truly interesting music and it really speaks to the current generation." He also added, "This is a big show with a huge cast, especially for Diversionary Theatre. There are 15 actors plus a four-member band on stage. There are a total of 36 songs, plus staging and choreography. Because of this, the audition process was quite extensive. As we speak, we are into the final rehearsals so we're moving into the theatre and tightening things up."

The cast of BARE is fairly young, but decidedly talented; fitting for the characters' ages.

It is not often that we get younger LGBT voices up on the stage and, as Mulvaney notes, "The show addresses subject matter that is not always considered friendly or is easily welcomed. It is a wonderful treat that an established LGBT theatre company like Diversionary has taken it on."

Diversionary is working with PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and high school GSA (Gay/Straight Alliances) to welcome them to this ground-breaking show.

If you are feeling excited but curious about this new show like me, I can tell you this...

When Broadway World reviewer Cara Richardson saw "BARE," just this May, it was in production at Vanderbilt University. She rated it as PG-13 and noted, "While there were occasional times that I felt the lyrics were a little less than memorable, the story itself shines through. Grabbing you from the start, the actors and the story, touch places in your heart that you may not have known existed. By the end of the show, the audience, including myself, was brushing tears away. 'BARE: A Pop Opera' is a stern reminder to not dismiss the issues that teens face every day... It becomes a reminder to take a moment to listen and try to understand a young person. It could be the most important thing you do for them."

It seems right to take this moment to remind readers to continue supporting and giving to projects like "It Gets Better" and The Trevor Project, which provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBT Youth. For teens in need, the support network is there 24/7: Just call 866.488.7386. They also have a live chat feature on the Trevor Project website.

"BARE: A Pop Opera" runs Wednesday, July 2 through Sunday, August 3 at Diversionary. For tickets and more information call 619.220.0097 or visit

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