A Memorable, Supercharged “Rent” at Broward Center
By Skip Sheffield
“Rent” is back for a very limited time in a supercharged 20th anniversary edition through Sunday. Oct. 9 at Broward Center for the Arts.
“Rent” had a unique, star-crossed genesis as a creation of Jonathan Larson, who died of an aortic dissection the night before the musical’s opening Off-Broadway in 1996. The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and eventually a Pulitzer Prize. It ran for 12 years on Broadway and had multiple national and international tours.
Loosely based on Puccini’s tragic 1896 opera “La Boheme,” “Rent” is an early 1990s time capsule of would be artists, drag queens and dreamers who are squatting in a tenement on New York’s Lower East Side. The show began in 1988 as a collaboration with playwright Billy Aronson as a “musical for the MTV generation.” In 1991 Larson took sole control of the show.
The two main characters are Roger Davis (Kaleb Wells), a struggling songwriter who is HIV positive, and Mark Cohen, a struggling Jewish filmmaker from a prosperous family in Scarsdale. Roger’s girlfriend is the sickly but alluring “exotic dancer” Mimi (Skyler Volpe). Mark has a girlfriend named Maureen (Katie Lamark) who will leave him for a woman named Joanne (Jasmine Easler).
The most flambouyant scene-stealer is a petite drag queen named Angel (David Merino), who loves Tom Collins (Aaron Harrington), a large black man who is a part-time teacher at NYU. The nemesis of this ragtag bunch is Benjamin Coffin III Christian Thompson), who owns the building and would like to redevelop it. The action takes place over a year, from Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve.
“Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes… Moments so dear, How do you measure a year?,” go the lyrics of the most memorable song, “Seasons of Love.” Seeing “Rent” is a memory you will cherish.
Call 954-462-0222 or go to www.browardcenter.org for ticket information.