How “A Christmas Story” Kept Peter Billingsley Normal

How “A Christmas Story” Kept Peter Billingsley Normal.

A great piece on Billingsley, who, as an adult never went all Dana Plato at it. Also, it’s nice to see him embrace this iconic role. More than embrace it, he’s been a producer on the successful musical that has played on Broadway and across the country over the last several years.

For the record, I’ve seen the musical version twice — in 2012 on Broadway and in 2013 at Madison Square Garden. I love every bit of it.


Peter Billingsley. |Image: Ramona Rosales/BuzzFeed

Damon Intrabartolo, “Bare” Composer, Dead at 39

from Broadway World:

Damon Intrabartolo, composer of the hit off-Broadway musical Bare and a variety of film scores, died on August 13 in Phoenix, AZ. No cause of death has been reported. Intrabartolo was 39 years old.


Jon Hartmere, Jr. (l), and Intrabartolo at an opening of “Bare.” |Image via

Intrabartolo wrote Bare, a musical about two gay Catholic school students grappling with their forbidden relationship, with co-book writer and lyricist Jon Hartmere. The musical originally premiered at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles, CA, on October 14, 2000. It ran through February 25, 2001, before transferring to the American Theatre of Actors in New York City in the spring of 2004. A new, revamped version of the musical premiered at off-Broadway’s New World Stages on December 9, 2012, where it played through February 3, 2013.

A frequent collaborator with John Ottman, Intrabartolo was the orchestrator and conductor for many film scores, including In Good Company, American Dreamz, Bubble Boy, Pumpkin, Lake Placid, Halloween H20, Hide and Seek, Fantastic Four, Superman Returns, Eight Legged Freaks, X2: X-Men United, Gothika and Cellular. Intrabartolo also orchestrated and conducted the Dreamgirlsunderscore composed by Stephen Trask.

In addition to Bare, Intrabartolo composed the musicals Plop andOdyssey of the Bulimic Orphans. He was in the process of composing a new musical called Ride… a pop fable before his death.



Jonah Platt and Payson Lewis star in the new Los Angeles production of “Bare,” set to open just after Labor Day 2013. |Promotional Image/glory|struck productions.

I must say, I was quite shocked by this news. I discovered him, like so many others, through the marvel that is Bare. I was so captivated by the original score that when Stafford Arima and Jon Hartmere reimagined it late last year Off-Broadway, I jumped at the chance to see it. Sadly, I did not like it very much, but was still glad that I got to be a part of it. A new production of Intrabartolo’s original concept is set to open next week in Los Angeles.

How ‘Bare’ Helped One Of It’s Stars Come Out

‘Bare The Musical’ Star Casey Garvin: How The Off-Broadway Show Helped Him Come Out As Gay.


Casey Garvin, who is in the Off-Broadway revival/reinvention of ‘Bare.’ Photo: Huffington Post


Well, good for Casey. Note, however, that he’s talking about the pre-2012 version of Bare, not the one he’s performing in.

I’m just a broken freaking record, but this show has so much potential, so many terrific performances, and it’s just neutered in its present form. I’ve written about this several times. (HERE) and (HERE)

Still, it doesn’t mitigate the fact that in some incarnation it helped this young man understand who he was. You won’t ever hear me discounting the power of theatre to change lives. No, not ever.

Jason Hite Bare Broadway Buzz

Jason Hite plays one-half of the central couple in “Bare,” now playing at New World Stages. Image:

Teens have even approached him in tears after the show, saying, “This is my story.” Although Hite has a girlfriend in real life, it’s not hard for him to fall for his co-star Taylor Trensch every night. “I take the love I have for my girl and just copy and paste it onto Taylor,” he says. “It’s honest love. It doesn’t matter who the person is, it doesn’t matter what they are. Sometimes, love is just undeniable.”

via Jason Hite on Sharing a Dressing Room With 15 People and Getting Steamy With His Bare Co-Stars | Broadway Buzz |

He is very good in this. As is Taylor Trensch. As are several other standouts in the cast. The problem: the script does not live up to them, I’m sorry to say.

My original thoughts here.

“Bare” Off-Broadway — Cover It Up [review]

12/13/12 – Just to prove that I’m not alone in my impressions of Bare, here’s the New York Timesreview. Pretty spot on, I think.

Here’s another one.

I was so excited that I was going to be in New York to see the revival/reinterpretation of Bare, which opened tonight off-Broadway at New World Stages. I basically browbeat my friend into seeing it with me. I wanted her to see it. I wanted everyone to see it because the previous incarnation completely mesmerized me. I was not mesmerized this time out. Not in the slightest.

Bare, reinvented, opened Dec. 9, 2012 off-Broadway at New York's New World Stages.

Bare, reinvented, opened Dec. 9, 2012 off-Broadway at New York’s New World Stages.

Bare was written a little more than a decade ago with its book and lyrics by Jon Hartmere and music by Damon Intrabartolo. It was originally billed as a “pop opera” and, while powerful and beautiful, if the truth be told, it’s always been a problem piece.

Set in a co-ed Catholic boarding school, it deals with the love affair between Peter, a more introverted would-be actor, and Jason, the jock who has all of the female heads on campus turning. That’s basically all that’s the same this time around. There’s still a production of Romeo and Juliet, but in previous incarnations, the action tracked the action in R&J; this time it’s basically little more than background noise.

Jason Hite as Jason, left, and Taylor Trensch as Peter are the central performers in the new production of Bare.

Jason Hite as Jason, left, and Taylor Trensch as Peter are the central performers in the new production of Bare.

But let’s get this out of the way: the problem is not with the actors. In fact, Jason Hite as Jason and Taylor Trensch as Peter are acting their hearts out — they are lovely performers — and Barrett Wilbert Weed as Jason’s drug-peddling sister Nadia was also quite good. At the preview performance I saw, however, Gerard Canonico as straight friend Matt, in love with Nadia’s roommate Ivy, was the standout.

Being in a Catholic school, there are requisite nun and priest characters and they are also new this time around. Father Mike (Jerold E. Solomon) was completely inconsequential and the sublime Missi Pyle was utterly underused as Sister Joan.

From what I understand, director Stafford Arima and book writer Hartmere wanted to reinterpret Bare for today’s youth. Composer Intrabartolo did not take part. There are a few — a very few — introductions that really make sense, like cell phones and social media, but other than that and the Instagrams covering the set, most fall flat.

And here’s why: Bare feels neutered. It feels like the remnants of something big and powerful. There was a chance to really say something; to really stand up and say why it is unacceptable in 2012 that high school students are afraid to come out, afraid to be themselves, afraid to confront their Church or their parents, and that is further unacceptable to allow them to commit suicide as Jason does.

Barrett Wilbert Weed and Gerard Canonico as Nadia and Matt, two of the standout principals in this deeply flawed reinvention.

Barrett Wilbert Weed and Gerard Canonico as Nadia and Matt, two of the standout principals in this deeply flawed reinvention.

In fact, why not lay this square at the Catholic Church’s door? It seems like that’s the argument that’s being made, that homosexuality nor bullying killed Jason but that the Church did. That the Church is responsible. Why not say that? Why not take a bloody stand? Make the argument. Create some drama.

AND, why did it seem like every new number was a power ballad? I just wanted to stand up and say, “Stop! Enough! Write something else!”

The whole production seems like a cop-out. It seems like a good idea that got castrated by the producers. Maybe that’s not the case — maybe the reinventors were simply not as good as they thought they were.

For my part, I’m passionate about doing whatever we can to prevent this incessant tide of gay teen suicides from continuing into another generation. When Jason dies in this play, there shouldn’t be a dry eye in the house, but guess what? I didn’t feel a thing. That, I am afraid, is a ringing endorsement of failure. After all, earlier in the day, I’m the sap that cried at A Christmas Story, the Musical!

When we left the theatre, my friend and I had a heated discussion about the show all the way back to our hotel. She and I are both playwrights and I’ve been to more theatre with her in the last 20 years than with anyone else. At one point she grabbed my arm and stopped me. “We could fix this one, me and you,” she said. “Yes,” I agreed, “it would just take some balls.”