Oct. 5 2011 12:00 AM

MSU senior Dennis Corsi launches theater company to produce 'pop opera' about gay teens in crisis


The mission of Dennis Corsi’s theater company is to make a positive change in the community — and with his directorial debut, “Bare: A Pop Opera,” he hopes to see that goal come to fruition.

“I hope the audience leaves the show reflecting on ways that they can be more open to other people,” said the Michigan State University senior of the musical, which opens Thursday.

Written by Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, “Bare” revolves around a theater class at a Catholic board ing school. Each of the students are searching for identity and a sense of belonging while contemplating issues that include sexuality, popularity and drugs.

“The main characters are two guys in a relationship with one another: They go through a lot of judgment and oppression,” Corsi said. “It ends tragically, and I’m hoping the audience feels somewhat accountable, so they can help to make sure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore.”

The theater major is reaching out to youth beyond the auditorium by donating some of the production’s proceeds to help counsel teens who are contemplating suicide.

“The Trevor Project is a hotline for people that just need someone to talk to,” he explained. “That’s what a lot of the show is about. (The organization) is a listening ear so that we don’t have as many people taking their lives.”

Corsi has been involved with theater since sixth grade, but it wasn’t until he started college that he knew he wanted it to be his career.

“I realized I had such a passion for it and I wanted to devote all my time and life to it,” he said.

He began planning for “Bare” about a year and a half ago, and this summer he started his own production company composed entirely of fellow undergraduates.

“When I graduate I want to have my own company and do shows, so I thought, why not start now?” he recalled.

The website Kickstarter.com allowed Corsi to gather the necessary funds. He feels “Bare” was the perfect show to launch the company,.

“The title has so many different meanings,” he said. “One of them is to bear the cross, as in the Catholic church. Another is to bare your soul and deepest fears, your deepest desires. Or there’s bare as in being completely stripped of any masks or shields and being completely vulnerable.”

After each show a discussion panel will be held on the themes of the play. A variety of perspectives will be represented with cast members, university staff and parents on the panel. Thursday’s topic is “The Masks We Wear”; on Friday, “Homosexuality and the Church” will be discussed; Saturday’s discussion addresses “Hot Topics Among Youth,” and the Sunday panel will discuss