Local production of RENT a great success
DMG Music Inc. pays tribute to the hit Broadway musical.
One of the most beloved Broadway plays of all time, RENT, had a well-received opening night at the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Oct. 13. Written originally by Jonathan Larson, RENT is about an impoverished group of Lower East Side New York artists and musicians in the wake of the post 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The show was brought to the city of Halifax by DGM Music Inc. and was in support of Aids Coatlition of Nova Scotia. The rock and roll inspired musical had brought the issues of not only HIV/AIDS to the table, but the issues that face the LGBT community here in Halifax, and around the world.
Before the show had opened, there was a special dedication made out to Wyoming’s own Matthew Shepard and the man himself, Jonathan Larson. Glancing through the audience, the theatre was filled in with people of different demographics. As the lights focused on to a lone set of a table and chairs, we were introduced to a vintage-camera-equipped Mark (Allister MacDonald) and a Fender guitar-happy Roger (Geordie Brown). Both opened in song and were later joined by the rest of the cast for a very well put together performance.
The introduction to one of the most beloved characters, Angel, received a warm welcome to the stage from the audience. Dressed in a red and white Santa inspired dress, lined with feathers and glitter, accommodated by zebra print leggings and gold high heels, she was the well-deserved eye catcher on the stage for the evening. Playing out in Halifax, there were constant reminders on set and in the lines that we were in a 1990s New York. “I’m a New Yorker, fear is my life” was the quote that fit so well with what was happening. Each of the characters was reminding the audience of the different issues that we face in relationships and our daily lives. There is one person on the stage that an average or not-so-average person can relate to and learn to love.
The stage was set with an apartment feel below, and a concrete street above, defined by scaffolding, and two staircases that led down into the main stage. Off to the left we were accompanied by a well-rehearsed pit-crew (Stephanie McKeown, Ria Kim & David McLean). Props of all sorts (both improvised and realistic) were all used well. Everything from a homeless window washer cleaning the windshield of a New Yorker’s car, to the presence of Vodka bottles, to a Christmas tree with a Pride flag adorning the centre—all of it came together well in watching the struggles and triumphs of the characters.
The night got emotionally bashed when everyone was confronted with the death of Angel. Through song and movement, the break-up and make-up of the cast occurred until the very end. “525, 600 minutes, how do you measure a year?” Seasons of Love, one of the most iconic songs in the whole production, was the final song of the evening. A lucky member of the audience was chosen to grace the stage with the full cast and sing into the finale of an amazing show. Running for roughly two and a half hours, the performance lived up to its sister motion picture. Filled with song, dance, powerful guitar solos and burlesque style dances made by Mimi, the show was an evening well spent.