In this day in time, when tales of heinous hate crimes and social atrocities deluge the media and the minds of America, it is wholeheartedly refreshing to see that hope is still alive in the young generations of this country. The late Jonathan Larson, himself a victim of the world which he chronicles, leaves behind a fine legacy in his emotionally charged rock-opera, Rent.
Mr. Larson supplies book, music, and lyrics, all of which are thoroughly biting, lively, and exciting. His score is a tasty rock/soul blend, littered with unique, theatrical gems. From the omnipresent anthem "Seasons of Love" to Mimi's scorching "Out Tonight," each song/scene in the virtually sung-through piece is wrought with genuine emotion, be it sorrow, exhilaration, hope, or affection.
To point out individual performers would be unfair to this extremely talented cast. But ... civilities be damned. Yassmin Alers' wonderfully sung "Mimi" was a captivating mix of pathos and heat. Understudies Wichasta Reese and Maggie Benjamin were also pleasant surprises in the roles of lesbian-lovers Joanne and Maureen, respectively.
If, perhaps, you have not yet witnessed the international phenomenon that is Rent, I would urge you to give it a shot. Fair warning, though: it is not for the very young or squeamish. With productions currently touring the US and running in New York, London, Germany, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Mexico, and (soon) Japan, Rent is most likely already playing in a theatre near you. For more details, visit www.siteforrent.com.
Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon, and New York Theatre Workshop present Rent. Book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. With Yassmin Alers (Mimi), Pierre Angelo Bayuga (Angel), Maggie Benjamin (Maureen u/s), Marcus Chaney, Gregory G. DeCandia, Sandra DeNise, Cristina Fadale, Danielle Lee Greaves, Scott Hunt (Mark), Jake Manabat, Stacey-Lea Marhue, Christian Mena (Roger), Marcus Mitchell, Wichasta Reese (Joanne u/s), Racquel Roberts, Enrico Rodriguez, Horace V. Rogers (Tom Collins), Dominique Roy, Cary Shields, Carl Thorton (Benny), Brent Davin Vance, and Tricia Young. Directed by Michael Grief. Choreography by Marlies Yearby. Rent is presented by the Mastercard Broadway Series of Atlanta.