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‘Bare: A Pop Opera’

A production of “Bare: A Pop Opera” opens today at The Underground. The cast is composed largely of University of Minnesota Duluth theater students and alum. (Photo by Andrew Benusa)

“Bare” is a Los Angeles-bred coming-of-age musical about teens at a coed Catholic boarding school. Jason and Peter are more than just roommates — and the latter wants to go live with the info. Jason, big man on campus, is less willing to dish.

Meanwhile, the school is in the midst of producing a Shakespeare play, which offers plenty of opportunities for drug-fueled cast parties, casual hookups, messy breakups and unplanned pregnancy.

“It’s a completely honest love story,” said director Bailey Boots, a recent University of Minnesota Duluth theater grad who brought the show to the Playhouse for consideration. “It’s not two people meet, fall in love and get married. You see the struggles, you see the fights, you see everything in its most bare sense, if you will.

“People our age don’t go for the cheesy musical anymore.”

Boots got interested in the show through its soundtrack, which she played part of for Playhouse executive director Christine Seitz while working on “Evita” last summer. Seitz, Boots said, was immediately interested.

More than half of the cast is composed of current UMD students or alum.

While Boots was looking for a music director for the show, she found out that her voice teacher had multiple experiences with “Bare.”

Andy Kust has worked in some capacity on four productions of “Bare” — including one in 2011 at Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis.

In 2013, he worked with the late composer Damon Intrabartolo on editing and proofing the original score.

This is the largest-scale musical production to play at The Underground since it opened, not including “Hairspray,” which was produced by the Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre.

“From our perspective, ‘Bare’ will stand on its own,” Pelkey said. “This will be exciting for us to showcase something like this with important issues and with such timeliness. Headline issues are really covered in this musical, which makes us really excited about presenting it to the community.”

Go see it

Opens 7:30 p.m. today; runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 23