THE STARS OF BARE: Payson Lewis, Nathan Parrett, Lindsay Pearce, Jonah Platt, and Katie Stevens.


bare: A Rock Musical is that rarity, a Los Angeles-premiered musical that went on to both off-Broadway and worldwide success. With book by Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Hartmere and music by Intrabartolo, bare focuses on the coming-of-age of a group of high school seniors at a co-ed Catholic boarding school, each struggling to define him or herself in the face of their relationships, sexuality and religion.

Now, thirteen years after its L.A. debut, glory|struck Productions brings bare back to the city where it all started, with Calvin Remsberg directing a cast headed by Payson Lewis (NBC’s The Sing Off, Victorious), Jonah Platt (The Office), Lindsay Pearce (Glee, The Glee Project), Nathan Parrett (NBC’s The Voice), and Katie Stevens (FOX’s American Idol), previewing September 5 and running September 6-22 at the Hayworth Theatre. Elmo Zapp is musical director.

bare‘s five dynamic young stars recently took time out of their busy rehearsal schedule to talk about the project.  Their conversation makes for a great read.

Hi guys! bare can truly be called an L.A. musical, having debuted at the Hudson Theater several years before its 2004 New York premiere.  How familiar with bare were each of you before getting cast in the L.A. revival?

Jason_JonahPlatt JONAH PLATT: I was actually introduced to bare by our producer Topher Rhys in 2009, when he approached me to play Jason in a concert version of the show he put up at the Hudson. I’d never heard of it before, but came to love the show immediately. It is absolutely thrilling to be a part of this production now, four years later. It feels like coming home again, only home is so much bigger and beautiful now than it was before!

PAYSON LEWIS: Before being cast in the revival, my only exposure to bare was through what I had heard from Topher and his experience producing the workshop a few years back.  He spoke so fondly of the piece and his time working on it that when he approached me about auditioning, I was immediately excited and really hoped to be a part of the show’s newest incarnation.

LINDSAY PEARCE: I had heard performers singing some of the show’s big numbers for auditions but I never knew where the songs were from until Topher emailed me and asked if I would be interested in auditioning. I’m very glad he did.

KATIE STEVENS: I wasn’t very familiar with the show before I was cast in it. I was brought into this project by our musical director Elmo Zapp who shares a mutual friend with me. When I heard the story, all I could think of was how relevant it was. I think it’s so important to touch on these issues. And what better way to do so than with music and artistry.

NATHAN PARRETT: My familiarity with bare prior to auditioning was also very limited. It’s been an exciting journey discovering who my character is organically as we work through the script. I’m going to save watching the old bare footage to the very, very end after I’ve already developed Matt.


bare obviously struck a chord with audiences from its start at the Hudson, and since then in productions the world round.  What do you think has made this story of two Catholic boys school students in love resonate so strongly?

Ivy_LindsayPearce LINDSAY: I think it’s a star-crossed love story that people have been relating to since Romeo and Juliet, which is one of the reasons I think it’s so brilliant that Shakespeare’s tragic story is weaved throughout the show. Two households, the house of “tradition” and the house of change—both alike in dignity—clash and can’t seem to meet and find peace in the story until drastic measures are taken for one boy to have his voice and love be heard and accepted.

JONAH: I think that, like the story of Romeo and Juliet, any truly tragic tale of love is deeply affecting. Jason and Peter’s plight could so easily be avoided if they were just in a safe, supportive environment, or if someone could break through to Jason, or if there was communication, or if… the list is endless. Their love is so joyous and pure; it’s crushing to watch it crumble because of pressure from the world around them.

PAYSON LEWIS: There’s something truly timeless about the story of bare.  While the show focuses on Peter and Jason’s struggle to find themselves amid their sexual and religious confusion, it appeals more basically to every youth’s journey to discover who they are in a world whose “rules” don’t always make sense.  We’ve all had times where our parents told us that we had to act a certain way because “that’s the way the world works.” In bare, Peter and Jason fight harder and ask, “Why?”  I think everyone can identify with this inquisitive desire whether they are religious, gay, overweight, or just an average Joe. That’s what makes bare such an accessible piece and something that will continue to inspire those to ask questions about the status quo.

KATIE: We now live in a society where it is more socially acceptable to be gay, but there are still so many people who struggle with self-discovery and acceptance. We need to make it okay for people to be who they are. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s business who you love, or who you want to be. And bare’s main characters, Peter and Jason, represent so many people who are gay or are experimenting or exploring their sexuality. This show goes through their journey, and I think it’s a journey so many people have endured.

NATHAN: bare is such a relevant show. Not only can millions of teens relate to the story of Peter and Jason, but the story of bare is about teens and their struggles. Dealing with sexual experimentation, first-time drug use, peer pressure, and living up to the expectations of their parents and the adults in their lives—all things every teen will inevitably deal with.


A lot has changed for the LGBT community in the past thirteen years, the Internet offering LGBT teens connections with the world outside their schools and small towns that weren’t there back in 2000.  How relevant is bare to today’s contemporary teens?

Peter_PaysonLewis PAYSON: I think bare is just as relevant today as it was in 2000.  While there’s been a lot of progress in terms of LGBT rights in our country, change has not come so quickly in the Catholic Church and around the world.  In reality, bare will continue to be relevant until we don’t even consider classifying people as LGBT.  Only when we can truly consider everyone, even those of us who are “different,” as people will bare’s mission finally be considered a total success.

LINDSAY: I think it’s almost more relevant today than it was then. I think the increase in teen bullying and abuse via the Internet has caused a sort of bond amongst the LGBT youth. These individuals are soldiers. It’s not easy to stand up for who you are or what you believe in, and I think a show like bare, that encourages youth to have a voice, will always be relevant. It doesn’t matter if you’re an LGBT youth, the quiet student in the back of the art room, or the star quarterback. Your voice deserves to be heard.

NATHAN PARRETT: Things have been changing for the better in the gay community slowly but surely. More information and resources have become accessible to gay youth and adults struggling, which is amazing and promising. However one thing that we may never be able to change is the “personal” struggle anyone would face in making self-discoveries about sexual identity. And that is what makes the story of bare timeless.

JONAH: I agree. bare is timeless. No matter what age we’re in, no matter if you’re gay or straight, all teenagers have to deal with some or all of the issues these kids deal with—body image, self-esteem, finding your own voice amongst the crowd, discovering love, discovering what priorities you’ll follow that will dictate the kind of person you become as an adult—these are all explored within bare and these are struggles to which every person in the world can relate.

KATIE: I have many friends who are gay, many of whom I grew up with. And I watched their journey, and I watched their struggle. I was even one to say, “Look, I know you’re gay, and when you are ready to tell me, I’ll still be here to love you and to be your friend.” They endured struggles along the way, but being true to themselves ultimately created happiness for them. But some people aren’t as brave, and can’t be truthful because of the fear of discrimination, or having disapproving family and friends. They sometimes go as far as hurting themselves because of that fear and anger.  bare is important because it shows teens who are going through that.


Can you talk a bit about your role in bare?  How does this character compare with roles you’ve played in the past, and what is it that you in particular are able to bring to the character that maybe another performer might not?

PAYSON: Peter is such a fascinating character to me.  He is so strong but it takes him a while to find that strength.  He spends most of the show relying on others but ultimately discovers that just being himself is enough.  He deals with love, loss, ridicule, and confusion and he does it all on his own.  He spends the whole show looking for acceptance from those around him, receiving none, and then ultimately discovering the only acceptance he really needs is his own.  As an actor the role has been an immense challenge.  I am neither religious nor gay.  It’s given me an amazing opportunity to look inside myself and come to terms with my insecurities and remind myself that I am enough just by being me.

PeterLovesJason JONAH: Jason is the show’s tragic figure. He’s the brightest, most talented, most well-liked kid in school, but he suffers the most because he simply cannot handle the pressure of living up to expectations. He is ultimately destroyed by the perceived disappointment he thinks the world will have if he’s open with his homosexuality. It’s such a sad ending to a life brimming with potential. I’ve played “golden boy” roles before, such as Melchior in Spring Awakening last year, also at the Hayworth—a magnetic figures that other characters are drawn to.  But unlike Melchior, Jason lacks inner strength and resolve.

NATHAN: I’m playing Matt. I always seem to play the bad guy in one way or another. No complaints! When I first read the script I was slightly worried that Matt had traits that I wouldn’t be able to relate to, especially when the story of Jason and Peter hits so close to home. But as I’ve been digging in I’m realizing the multiple parallels he and I share. Matt is in love with Ivy, his driving force, and he is constantly shut down, “always the bridesmaid never the bride.” Everyone can relate to those feelings of longing for someone who’s just out of reach. His actions are driven by frustration. With this, I’m discovering more and more of myself in Matt daily.

LINDSAY: I’ve never played a character before that was so … insecure is almost the right word, but not quite. Ivy is complex. She can be described as the classic pretty, popular girl who wants what she wants and pays the price for her decisions. However, I describe her as an average girl who has worked really hard to paint a portrait of herself to mask how outside of the lines she feels. She’s very lonely. She’s new ground for me. She’s no Disney princess or Shakespearean damsel, so I’m treading water this time. Ha ha.

Nadia_KatieStevens KATIE: I play Nadia, Jason’s sarcastic, sardonic, quick-witted twin sister. She’s one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever played. She’s hilarious, but also has a darkness to her. As an actress, I look for roles to challenge me. I realize I’m not a traditional Nadia. My fear in accepting the role was that people would be disappointed that there wasn’t a heavy girl playing her—that they weren’t represented. But I also know that you don’t need to be overweight to have the internal issues that Nadia does. She’s self-conscious, she doesn’t feel loved, she feels overlooked, underappreciated, she’s doesn’t think she’s beautiful. These are all things that many people struggle with. I struggled with my confidence all through middle school and high school. I loved food, I loved to eat, and I still had my baby fat. Was I fat? Looking back at pictures, no. But did I feel fat and was I extremely self-conscious? Absolutely.To me, Nadia has a LOT more going on. We’ve explored character choices like eating disorders, and cutting. All things that many children battle every day because the media—and life—has brainwashed people into thinking that being skinny and pretty makes you beautiful rather than seeing everyone’s differences and imperfections as beauty.


How did your own high school experience compare with that of your character and the other characters in bare?

PAYSON: My high school experience does not resemble Peter’s at all.  If anything, I was much more like Jason.  I was an athlete and a relatively popular kid.  I mean, I wasn’t the prom king or anything, but I had plenty of friends.  Honestly, I had a pretty charmed high school experience.  I went to public school in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia and was pretty much a “good kid.”  I didn’t drink. I didn’t do drugs. And despite my greatest efforts otherwise, I graduated high school a virgin.  Peter and I are very different, and that’s what has made this experience playing him so deeply moving and illuminating.

JONAH: My own high school experience was only similar to Jason’s (and all teens really), in that I felt misunderstood. I felt that a certain image was being projected onto me by those around me that was not in fact a true reflection of who I was inside, and I had no other recourse but to wait for school to end, so I could start over and people would see me for me. Plus, there was a church on my campus!

LINDSAY: I had an interesting teenage experience because I was very unhappy with the high school I went to, due to the lack of an arts program (and I was really tired of the cheerleaders picking on me), so I dyed my hair almost black to give a nice send off to the blondes at my school and went to a junior college my junior and senior year instead. I think I just longed to be pushed by a more mature crowd. I think I was definitely a Nadia when I was younger. Chip on my shoulder and all.

KATIE: I never had an eating disorder. I’ve never harmed myself in any way. But I had friends who I have witnessed throwing up after meals, counting how many calories they’ve eaten in one day hoping it didn’t go over 500. I’ve seen friends with scars on their arms from cutting themselves. I know people who were bullied. I’ve known people who have committed suicide. And I know people who have been addicted to drugs and alcohol. Being around all these things has taught me to accept myself for who I am, to love myself, and take care of myself.


There’s been quite a team of artists assembled for bare, both onstage and behind the scenes, some of whom you’ve worked with before, and others that you’re getting to work with for the first time.  What’s it like being reunited with old friends and adding new talents to the mix?  

LINDSAY: It is honestly the most incredible environment to be around. Everyone is on the same page, everyone is extremely loving, embracing the new and the old as if they were one and the same. I immediately felt welcomed by everyone and I feel like I’ve known them my whole life. It’s one happy, singing group of crazy loving people.

PAYSON: It has been such a pleasure to reunite with so many people that I’ve worked with before.  It’s really allowed us to jump in to this material on a deeper level much sooner than you normally could because we all feel so comfortable with each other.  There is no apprehension.  I have a huge amount of respect for everyone involved in this production and I feel safe to explore every aspect of this story and these characters because I know that everyone is right there with me every step of the way.  It’s been amazingly rewarding so far.

Matt_NathanParrett NATHAN: I’m so happy to be working with my friends again. Spring Awakening made us all really close, so we’re kind of like a family. And all of the fresh faces and new additions are incredibly sweet and grossly talented.

JONAH: This cast is sensational! I’ve had the privilege to work with more than half of our cast before—either in the previous glory|struck Productions of Glory Days or Spring Awakening, or this year’s LA’s Next Stage Star at Sterling’s Upstairs. It’s fantastic to be reunited with such talented performers and producers, and equally thrilling to be introduced to such fantastic new actors as well—people who are as wonderful on the stage as they are off of it. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this group.

KATIE STEVENS: I’m the complete newbie to this project! I’d never worked with any of the cast before, but I had heard wonderful things about them from friends of mine who had. They all welcomed me with open arms and accepted me as an equal right away. They are some of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I learn from them every day, and they push me to do my best.


How would you describe Damon Intrabartolo’s music for bare?  Do you have a particular favorite song, either yours or another character’s?

PAYSON: In Damon’s own words, bare started as a “soundscape.”  A lot of the music existed before lyrics or story to tie them together.  What I like about that is that the music all had to convey an emotion completely separate from context.  Every song in this show draws its emotion from the melodies.  My favorite moment, and perhaps the best example of this, comes in the turn at the end of “Bare.” There’s a meter change as Jason first says the words that have eluded him the whole show which lifts the song into a truly beautiful, hopeful crescendo that ends in one of the most sincere and tender moments of the entire show.  I get goose bumps every time.

LINDSAY: Human and honest. It’s just conversation and thought put to music. It’s also extremely hopeful, funny, and shattering. “Role of a Lifetime” is what made me fall in love the first time I listened to bare three months ago. It feels like a personal monolog and I relate to the earnest heart of that song and character. Payson was born to sing it. It’s incredible. My new favorite song is “Once Upon a Time.” It’s Jason at his complete wit’s end, speaking to God. It gives me chills. I’ve been in a begging place with God before. I think many have. It’s so raw and lovely. Jonah also sings it like a dream, so that doesn’t hurt at all either.

KATIE: I love Nadia’s material in this show. She has emotional songs, funny songs—she covers all the bases. My favorite is “Quiet Night at Home,” because you get to see a broken-down, uncovered, vulnerable side of Nadia that you have yet to see.

NATHAN: Right now my bare guilty pleasure musical number is “Promise.”

JONAH: Damon’s music is absolutely beautiful. “Pop opera” is really quite accurate. It’s music that sounds current, it’s catchy, it’s easy to digest and accessible, but it’s also sweeping, haunting, and very motif/theme driven. My favorite song has always been “Are You There?” a duet between Matt and Peter, that’s actually more like a trio, with God being the silent third partner. The harmonies are gorgeous, the passion of the boys’ plea so powerful, and it holds up on its own as a terrific stand-alone pop/rock song.


If you were given thirty seconds to do a YouTube promo for bare, what would you tell viewers to get as many of them to make room in their September for the show?

LINDSAY: I would tell them that this show is being put together by the incredible force of love and passion for its message: “Hear my voice.” We want to celebrate our audiences’ individual voice and connection to this show. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with others and spread bare’s reason and meaning.

KATIE: This show takes you on a beautiful and emotional journey. It has everything you could ever want; laughter, tears, anger, compassion, twists, turns etc. This show will not disappoint. And  the music is absolutely phenomenal. Need I say more?

PeterJasonPews JONAH: Two things: 1) The Cast 2) The Content. This cast is just mind-blowingly talented from top to bottom. Our principals are outstanding, and our supporting cast is full of people who usually play outstanding principals. It’s also especially exciting to be working with Stephanie Andersen and John Griffin, members of the original bare LA cast. It’s just a total all-star team from top to bottom. And this story, no matter who you are, will make you feel something. It’s just impossible not to.

NATHAN: I’d have to mention how blown away they will be. If you’re a bare fan, then you already love the music, but I’m not sure anyone has heard it sung quite this well before.

PAYSON: I wouldn’t tell them anything.  I’d simply have my incredible castmates sing a 30-second cut from the closing moments of “No Voice.”  If that can’t convince someone to come, they are either dead or…well, they are probably dead.


So many young L.A.-based actors concentrate entirely on film and TV work.  Why do you make room for theater when there are considerably more lucrative jobs out there?

LINDSAY: There will never be anything more personal and fulfilling to me than live theater. It is my first love, and I always hope to come back to it no matter where I am or what I’m working on. There’s just something so personal and tangible about stage. The audience is right there with us. We go on the journey together. We cry together, we laugh together, we grow together.

KATIE: It takes a certain discipline to do theater, especially musical theater. You need to learn the script and score, you need to dance, and be able to explore your character and have that all in place for your songs and scenes. There is no editing; everything is live, and raw. You can see your audience, you can hear them react. You have a job to move them, and you have to do it in that moment. It takes courage. There is no hiding, you are exposed. That is probably what I love most about it.

NATHAN: I consider myself a singer first, but I’m involved in theater for the rush and adrenaline I feel on stage. It’s another way to express. We shouldn’t limit ourselves as creatives. I love “The Arts” and I want to be involved and exercise that love in as many ways as possible.

JONAH: “Make room for theater” is a very nice way of putting it… But musical theater has and always will be my first and greatest love. There’s nothing I enjoy more in the entire world, and when done correctly, there’s no more powerful or rewarding way to tell a story than through the combination of acting, movement, and of course, music.


What advice would you give a high schooler wanting to follow your career path either here or in New York?

LINDSAY: If you know in your heart and soul that this is for you, chase it until your shoes are worn down. Do not ever give up, and always remain yourself, no matter what. Your individuality is what makes you beautiful, and you should always celebrate it. Never forget where you’ve come from, and always remember the people that helped mold you along the way. Embrace the journey and be brave and bold.

NATHAN: My advice to any high schoolers who want to move to L.A. or New York, is only move if you know you “have to,” only move if you love it so much that people’s rejection won’t stop you from fulfilling your dreams. Work hard, and sleep when you’re dead.

JONAH: First, I’d say be positive that this is what you want to do, because there are zero guarantees and being talented isn’t enough to achieve success. As Mark Cuban says, it’s not about following your dreams; it’s about following your effort, and this career is nothing but work. You must be prepared to work night and day, 24/7, seeking out any and all opportunities, and where there are none, creating your own. And no quitting, even though you’ll face disappointment, doubt, and rejection almost every single day. You can’t ever give up your spot in line. You just have to keep plugging away and believe in yourself, no matter who else does or doesn’t, and promise you won’t rest until you’ve achieved your goals. You also have to allow yourself to enjoy the journey, because 95% of your career is going to just be that. So start now, because it’s a long climb and the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be high enough up the mountain for someone to notice.

PAYSON: Don’t follow my path.  I’ve discovered my way in a series of wrong turns and terrible decisions.  I would tell them to just follow their hearts as cliché as that is.  Everyone’s path is different. There’s no script to follow.  You just have to blaze a trail and see where it takes you.

KATIE: Do not ever give up! Nothing that is worth it comes easy. You will have to struggle, you will cry and sometimes you will want to give up. You have to push through, and believe in yourself. No matter what though, stay true to who you are. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, you’re just going to have to fight for it.

Thanks so much, guys!  Can’t wait to see you onstage and off on Opening Night!


TheClique Here’s more about our talented quintet of interviewees:

PAYSON LEWIS (PETER) is truly honored to be a part of this incredibly talented cast of bare. Originally from Philadelphia, Payson has been seen on “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS), “Rules of Engagement” (CBS), “Love Bites” (NBC), “VicTORIous” (Nickelodeon) and was a Top-4 Finalist on “The Sing-Off” (NBC).  Most recently he has been seen in For The Record: Zemeckis as Marty McFly at Rockwell Table & Stage, the Newsies show at the Disneyland Resort and as Frankie Valli in a touring Four Seasons tribute group.  He graduated with honors from USC and was a member of the 3-Time ICCA Champion A Cappella Group, The SoCal VoCals. Payson is also producing his debut record that will be released later in 2013. He’s got a Twitter and an Instagram that he updates occasionally @paysonlewis. So, pull out those phones and follow him if you want to see what he’s up to next. Infinite thanks to Mom, Dad, and Bro.

NATHAN PARRETT (MATT) is thrilled to be joining glory|struck again after making his debut as Hanschen in Spring Awakening last summer. Most known for his time on Season Two of NBC’s “The Voice”, Nathan is a singer/songwriter who amidst performing around Los Angeles has been featured in Rockwell’s For The Record and MAC’s touring show “Glamour Daze”

LINDSAY PEARCE (IVY) is ecstatic to be a part of glory|struck’s revamping of bare here in Los Angeles and is so thrilled to be working with old and new friends. Lindsay has been performing since childhood in the San Joaquin Valley, her favorites being Oklahoma, Beauty and the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Steel Magnolias, and Macbeth. In 2011, Pearce was selected as one of twelve singers to compete on “The Glee Project.” As a final four runner up, she was given a two-episode arc on “Glee.” Other recent television includes “Drop Dead Diva.” Theatre: Cathy in The Last Five Years (Under Motion Productions); Snow White in Nigel Lythgoe’s (American Idol/So You Think You Can Dance) A Snow White Christmas opposite Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys) and Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation); and Wendla in Spring Awakening (Over The Moon Productions). Lindsay thanks her family, friends, Papa Lynch, Cherrie, Robert, Howard and Melanie for all of the love, support and ass kicking to get her to where she is. She hopes you enjoy bare and hold it close to your heart. “Hear my voice.”

JONAH PLATT (JASON) has recently performed in Spring Awakening (Melchior), Glory Days (Will), Los Angeles bare Workshop(Jason) and One Night Stand: An Improvised Musical (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2007 & 2008 Total Sell Out). TV: “The Office,” “It’s a Brad Brad World.” Jonah has also worked on the writing staffs of “Parks and Recreation,” “Running Wilde,” and “Family Guy.” Jonah is co-founder of Starlight Studios ( and is currently writing a new cycle of musical theater songs with composer Andrew Resnick. Find him on Twitter @JonahPlatt.

KATIE STEVENS (NADIA) is a Connecticut native, who got her start on the 9th season of FOX’s “American Idol” where she came in 8th place. Following the show Katie performed on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “Idolos in Portugal,” “Extra,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and the “Today Show.” In the summer of 2010 Katie toured the US with the American Idol Live Top 10 show to sold-out arena concerts in 60 cities. After touring, she moved to Los Angeles to focus on developing herself as an artist and a songwriter. Katie has been seen singing around the LA scene (Dodgers Stadium, The W Hotel, The Federal) and is very excited to be taking part in this project. She would like to thank the cast and crew for such an incredible experience, and also to her friends and family for their unconditional love and support.


bare also stars Caitlin Ary, Kelsey Hainlen, Casey Hayden,Christopher Higgins, Reesa Ishiyama, Harrison Meloeny and Katherine Washington, with original bare cast members Stephanie Andersen andJohn Griffin returning to the show alongside Alissa-Nicole Koblentz as the adult figures.

Watch the bare trailer.


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