Hanggi to helm award-winning teen-themed tuner
In a deal that marks the first legit partnership for both, MTV Films and Immortal Entertainment Group have joined to mount the L.A.-originated tuner “bare!” in Gotham.
They will produce the show with theatrical producers Daryl Roth (“Proof”) and Jordan Roth (“The Rocky Horror Show”).
Penned by Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, “bare” was launched at the Hudson Street Mainstage Theater in L.A. last October.
Director Kristin Hanggi, who helmed the Los Angeles production of “bare,” will direct the first staged presentation in New York.
Tuner — which won best music and lyrics trophies at the 2001 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards — is a coming-of-age tale about five high school seniors wrestling with a sense of self that doesn’t mesh with the expectations of parents, church or society.
Looked for right texture
“I’d wanted to write a musical for some time,” Intrabartolo said, “but one that had a rock texture that excited me, not unlike ‘Hair’ or ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ ”
“Bare!” is a 32-song pop opera with lyrics by Hartmere and a score by Intrabartolo; the duo penned the book together. Almost completely sung, tuner draws on alternative rock and pop music formats.
“It really speaks to relevant issues,” said David Gale, senior VP of MTV Films. “It’s about how teenagers think and feel, and it does that through music. MTV is founded on that principle.”
Intrabartolo and Hartmere recently completed a three-week writers residency at the Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, under the guidance of producer George C. Wolfe, who saw and embraced the show after a visit to L.A. that, by coincidence, was timed to producer Roth’s visit to see the show in February.
Immortal’s involvement came about when Matt Weaver, who saw the show at wife Hillary’s urging, and Immortal’s Cambi Clark began championing it to Immortal prexy and chief operating officer David Codikow.
“Their passion for ‘bare!’ prompted all of the involved companies to embrace the project with equal passion,” Codikow said.
“We’ve always been attracted to work that expands the boundaries of theater, explores fundamental human stories and emotions and engages new audiences,” said Roth, whose most recent Broadway production, “Proof,” won the Tony Award for best play.
For now, it’s unclear where the project will go first, but it clearly has a fan in Wolfe.
“The score of ‘bare’ is young, fresh, ambitious and accomplished — that’s a rare combination,” he said. “The project is also right in keeping with the Public Theater’s long-standing tradition of supporting new musical theater work.”
While MTV Films and Immortal also have the film rights to the tuner, Gale stresses it is being developed for the stage first.
“Film was not my motivation,” he said, “although we did try to get ‘Rent’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ It’s important that it be developed correctly. That means we’re not thinking of it as filmmakers, and for now, it means focusing on what goes on the stage.”