Were the arts in your weekend? How could they NOT be, with so much going on? In fact, there were too many attractions and performances for us to cover here at BAMirror. So, please, please tell us what you did in the arts by adding a comment to this entry and by checking out Nancy Oliveri’s review of The Drowsy Chaperone and George Basler’s review of bare: A Pop Opera.
Also here is a review of bare: A Pop Opera, submitted by a blog reader, “heldencomprimario”:
I know. I had never heard of bare: A Pop Opera either, but I certainly want to see it again, although I can’t imagine a better cast than I saw on opening night presented by SRO Productions’ Underground at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City. It tells the story of a group of students in a Catholic high school fighting to survive school and adolescence while trying to mount a production of Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers in the school, however, are two young men. Peter wants to be more than an after-thought to his boyfriend, and Jason is the guy all the girls want and all the other guys want to be. To prove that he is straight Jason has sex with Ivy, the prettiest girl at the school who, nevertheless, has her own self-image issues.
Andrew Simek (Peter), Joshua Smith (Jason) and Anna Simek (Ivy) play these three teenagers with great intensity and fine singing of a score that requires both rock style “high belt” and legit voice. They have the heavy emotional lifting, but the show requires a cast of soloists, and every other character is important. Matt Edlind plays Matt, who is in love with Ivy and jealous of Jason, whom he knows is gay. Annie Graham plays Nadia, Jason’s overweight sister, who protects herself with sarcasm. Eli Carlin plays Lucas, a student who doles out drugs with careless glee. Megan Germond (Tanya) and Annie Fabiano (Kyra) do double duty as students and as hilarious back-up singers for the Virgin Mary (more about that later). Mackenzie Gannon (Diane), Lauren Kovacic (Rory), Chris DaCosta (Zack) and Leander Tanner (Alan) complete the cast of students. Each was a fully-realized character, and I felt that each must have a back story just as interesting as those of Jason and Peter.
There are three adult characters in the cast. Scott Fisher plays the head priest at the school, who is compassionate but incapable of anything but platitudes. Mari Lewis is Sister Chantelle, who gets most of the funniest lines as the much put-upon director of Romeo and Juliet, and she also shows up in one of Peter’s dreams as the Virgin Mary, telling him to come out to his mother. Terri Jo Ramia plays Peter’s mother, Claire, who knows that Peter is gay, but doesn’t want him to tell her. She has a great song, “Warning,” when she comes to terms with it.
There were opening night mic problems, including one maddening 15 minute segment in which the first sentence of anyone’s line was inaudible, but that was resolved by the second act.
The program doesn’t mention who staged the fight scenes, but they were especially good. Kudos to stage director Mike Meaney and music director Megan Armenio, who led the small orchestra from the keyboard. It’s a shame that such a good production of such a moving play only gets three performances, but I am eagerly awaiting SRO’s next “underground” production.