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Pop musicals duel for Duluth audience

Sara Wabrowetz (center) performs with Kristen Parizek (from left) Vanessa Barr, and Marra Depesa during the dress rehearsal of the Renegade Theater Company production of “Things to Ruin,” a pop musical revue-style show about what it is like to be young and alive in modern times. (Clint Austin /

So you say you’re a fan of musicals that speak to what it is like to be young and alive in modern times. You like a story that bears a familial resemblance to “Spring Awakening” or “Rent.”

You prefer musicians with blistered fingertips to those who follow a baton, but you prefer either to a show sans soundtrack.

You’re in luck.

Related content: "Things to Ruin"

Related content: "Bare" A Pop Opera"

Two pop musicals go live today on local stages within a single mile — and a half-hour of each other. Renegade Theater Company’s production of “Things to Ruin” is a series of self-contained vignettes about life — an old friend pops up in a skin flick, the ignominy of being picked for a dodge ball team, how to succeed in business.

Meanwhile, at The Underground, “Bare: A Pop Opera” has at its base a love story between two high school-aged boys at a Catholic boarding school. Cue issues of hookups, breakups, drug use and pregnancy with an underlying Shakespearean plot.