Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 9:24 am

Center musical bares students' souls

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By Jack McNeil

Photo:
In 'Bare: A Pop Opera,' at Center for Living Arts, Antoinette Holman (as Sister Chantelle) provides some guidance for Adam Kuta (as Peter).
Many folks probably know the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island for its children's theater camps and performances, but it isn't afraid to put on more mature shows, too.

I attended the Center's newest production last Saturday, "Bare," a musical that features 35 dramatic, intense, heart-lifting and romantic tunes in its roughly two and a half hours.

The show focuses on a Catholic boarding high school senior named Peter who falls in love with his roommate, Jason, a jock. It also touches on Jason's sister's struggle with self-identity issues and the wild side of life at a Catholic boarding school.

"Bare" is a non-stop ride full of tunes from and for the heart. It's a story about love, confidence, self-identity, consequences, regret and tragedy.

The production pushes the envelope a bit with its explicit language and sexuality.For me, this was a well-done show that opened my eyes to some of the challenges homosexuals have to endure, and further, what a homosexual student at a Catholic school would have to go through.

You will find yourself noticing a number of details in the production, such as how characters with smaller parts play a role in developing the other characters on stage.

Speaking of the stage, it is a simple and up-close set. As Center owner and creative director Dino Hayz said, it is "theater in the parallel" because the stage is narrow with the audience on either side.

The Center also is selling poster cards for the show for one dollar each to raise money for organizations that push for equality (Quad Citians Affirming Diversity and thenational NOH8 campaign for marriage and social equality).

"Bare" is an admirable show that features a talented cast, a few surprises and some laughs. The cast features Doug Johnson as Jason, Adam Kuta as Peter, Becca Meumann as Ivy, Myka Walljasper as Nadia, Aaron Lord as Matt, Max Moline as Lucas, Eliza Ross as Tanya, andAnastasiya Newkirk as Kyra.

It's definitely a production you won't want to miss, as not many venues take the risk on a show like this. There is no telling what "Bare" could do for your soul and the impact it could have on others, as it teaches people to act, not sit still.
Jack McNeil, of Moline, is a sophomore at Moline High School.

If you go:

-- What: "Bare: A Pop Opera"
-- When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 16.
-- Where: Center for Living Arts Studio Theatre, 2008 4th Ave., Rock Island.
-- Tickets are $10 and available at the door.