If you’re looking for a show that will get you rocking out in your seat, drying tears from your face, then rocking out again, Rent is the show for you! Based on the opera La Boheme, Rent takes place in the early 1990s and follows a group of actors who are trying to make ends meet. Including LGBTQ characters and the presence of HIV/AIDS in the community, there are many serious themes and represented; especially at the time Rent was written.
When doing a show like Rent, the people truly are the show. If the actor isn’t becoming their character the production will be lost. And thankfully every actor on the tour became their character and made it truly an amazing show. David Merino (Angel Schunard) is an actor who took over my complete attention every time he walked on stage. When he put on his drag clothing, I was even more awed at his presence, movement, and expressions on stage. He tastefully played the role of a drag, which is important because if done incorrectly could be taken as a mockery. Another actor I would like to point out is Aaron Harrington (Tom Collins) who had a chocolaty bass voice that is very rare to find in musical theater. His voice was one of the highlights of the night for me, and it reminded me a lot of Audrey 2’s voice from Little Shop of Horrors.
One of the first things that I noticed before the show even started was the set. I am not normally affected by the set, good or bad, but in the case of Rent the set was very incredible and added to the overall effect the show had on me. On the right side of the stage there was a large metal tree that acted as a Christmas tree. The middle would vary from Mark and Roger’s apartment to many other locations throughout the show. On the left was a two story structure which underneath had the pit orchestra. The pianist was always on stage with his back to the audience, his piano blending into the set while the rest of his pit were hidden behind a wall.
The only issue I experienced in the whole show was not being able to understand what was being said periodically on stage. This was due to the band being a bit louder than the actors’ mics, the overall speed of most of the songs, and sometimes just the diction from the actors. Rent is a bit confusing of a show by itself, and not being able to understand what was being said made it that much more difficult to understand what was happening.
If you are going to see the show I would suggest reading a bit on the plot as it can be confusing at times how things fall together. However, if you are given the opportunity I would fully recommend seeing Rent. The music is fantastic and it puts you into a setting where the people and their problems feel real, an experience that is different from a lot of musical theatre.