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Rent: the rock-opera with a message

Spatz Theatre hosts Broadway hit Rent


RENT. Allie MacDonald, Kat Smith, Geordie Brown. Photo by Angela Gzowski

How do you measure a year – 525,600 minutes — when you’re dealing with AIDS? The hit Broadway musical Rent suggests you measure it in love, a notion shared by DMG Music Inc.’s cast of the same show. In a joint effort with the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, the young cast brings to the stage a show that, while respectful of its original performance, brings unique, original versions of the characters to talk about a disease that is still prevalent and contentious in society today.

“It’s a topic that needs to be discussed,” said Allie MacDonald, cast as Mark Cohen, one of the few characters in the show who doesn’t suffer from AIDS.

“I know people with HIV/AIDS (…) They’re not closed off; they want to talk about it, and they want people to become aware.”

For those of you who have never heard of *Rent*, it’s the story of a group of poor New York artists, striving to survive financially and physically as several struggle with AIDS. Its relevance to young adults is undeniable, also tackling themes of interracial dating and homosexuality. They fall in love, they lose a friend, and ultimately they figure out what it means to truly make the most of the moments they have together.

Roger Davis, Mark’s best friend and struggling musician, is played by Geordie Brown, who couldn’t praise the cast enough for their original spins on the characters:

“Pretty well none of the ensemble are trying to mimic the originals. We want to pay tribute and respect the originals, but everyone is bringing their own interpretation and own talent to it.”

The cast features several Dalhousie students including Matthew Béasant, Alyssa McCarthy, Jeremy Dutcher, Michael Hart, Meghan Jamieson, Taylor Long, and Kat Mackin-Smith.

“We’ve found a cast that’ve really brought the characters to life,” added MacDonald, “They put themselves into the characters in more ways than I could possibly imagine. I look at our Mimi, and think she could very well be Mimi, if Mimi had lived without AIDS. She’s so much like her!”

The show promises to be emotional, high energy, and full of great musical numbers. Described by many as a rock opera, DMG Music Inc. and the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia bring Rent to the stage in an effort to inform its audience while fundraising for AIDS relief.

The show opens Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at The Spatz Theatre on 1855 Trollope St, and will be showing at the same time for the next two nights. Tickets are $29.50 for students and can be purchased at


1 Comment

  1. Dalhousie Gazette articles « Kristie Smith on October 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    […] 14, 2011:  Rent: The rock-opera with a message Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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Claire Wählen

Claire was News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Wahlen.