Writing a blog like The Bitchy Waiter has a few perks. Honestly, I don’t know what any of them are yet, but I am told this is the case. Occasionally, someone will send me an email inviting me to their bar or restaurant saying they will treat me like a king, but for all I know, I will show up and they will throw a net over me and haul me off into the East River. However, I did recently receive an email from the producer of an off-Broadway musical that caught my attention. At first I thought they wanted to ask my permission to turn my blog into a big splashy hot mess of a musical, but they actually just wanted to invite me to see their show. It’s called Bare the Musical. I assumed that the show must have something to do with bitter middle-aged waiters so imagine my surprise when I read the synopsis and saw that it wasn’t. “Why would they want me to see this show.” I wondered. I went to the box office, picked up my ticket and sat in the audience. Two minutes later I knew why they wanted me there: there are cocktail servers in the audience!
I settled in for the show, cocktail in hand. Very quickly, the plot revolves around a gay couple in a catholic boarding school. One of them wants to “out” their relationship and the other one is further in the closet than a wool turtleneck sweater in July. There’s a bitchy sardonic outcast girl named Nadia played by Barrett Wilbert Weed (my favorite and in the photo above), a smart-mouthed singing nun played by Missi Pyle (my other favorite) and choreography by Travis Wall from TV’s So You Think You Can Dance. I used to write theatre reviews and I always felt the need to have a critical eye, but since this is my blog, I guess I can write whatever I want. I totally loved it.
The lead I saw was the understudy (Alex Wyse as Peter) and he rocked it. He was sweet and charming and vulnerable and reminded me of my myself 10 years ago. Okay, 15 years ago. Fine, 25 years ago. He just wanted to announce to everyone that he was in love with this wonderful guy and be happy, much like me in 1985 except I thought I was in love with Dawn, Brenda, Diane, Caryl and Lisa when in actuality I had the major hots for a guy named Guy.
The set is cool, the band is great, the jokes are funny (Alice Lee as Diane made me laugh out loud once and I almost shot wine out of my nose) and the audience is there to have a good time. (Order a drink! Order two!)
The music is sort of a pop score not unlike Rent. Everyone in the show is a great singer but more than that, it looked like they were all happy to be there. This brings me back to the cocktail servers in the audience who seemed to be the exact opposite of being happy to be there. During intermission, as I ordered a white wine, I watched those three severs and wondered about them. This is New York City so the chances are pretty good that those servers are also aspiring actors. Here they are working in a theater just ten feet away from a stage, but they have on aprons and not costumes. How difficult it must be for them to watch this musical, night after night, and know how badly they want to throw that tray to the floor and rush up to the stage and sing a song with Elizabeth Judd who played Ivy, the girl in love with the closeted gay guy. I felt bad for those servers. So bad in fact, that I ordered another glass of wine from one of them just to make them feel better. I hope it helped.
Bottom line, I loved the show and it’s closing on Sunday February 3rd. If you are in New York City and want to see some good theater (with cocktails, don’t forget) go check out Bare. You will have a good time. You will laugh and if you’re like that row of teenage girls that was behind me, you will cry whenever something sad happens. I myself got a little teary a couple of times, mostly because Peter reminded me so much of myself, but partly because I know what it’s like to be serving cocktails when all you really want to do is be singing on a stage.
Bare, the Musical
Music by Damon Intrabartolo
Book and Lyrics by Jon Hartmere
Choreograpohy by Travis Wall
Directed by Stafford Arima
New World Stages
340 W 50th St (between 8th & 9th Ave), NYC