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It’s time to ‘Rent’ the PAC

Rock musical 'Rent' opens Saturday

Posted: March 4, 2010 1:22 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2010 6:08 a.m.
Charlie Nash, left, as Angel, and Nikki Berra as Mimi in "Rent." Charlie Nash, left, as Angel, and Nikki Berra as Mimi in "Rent."
Charlie Nash, left, as Angel, and Nikki Berra as Mimi in "Rent."
Jonathan Larson's ground-breaking rock musical "Rent," based loosely on Puccini's opera "La Bohème," opens tomorrow, March 6 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons for a limited run.

"Rent" is more than a show, it's a phenomenon. Larson, the creator, died suddenly the night before the off-Broadway premiere of his show. Subsequently, the show won a Pulitzer Prize, and the production was moved to Broadway in 1996, where it gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical.

"Rent" is an inspiring story about friends and artists struggling in New York City's East Village, and it tackles the social issues of addiction, poverty, AIDS and, most of all, love.

Larson reinvented the modern musical when he created "Rent," which is largely responsible for helping to increase the popularity of musical theatre among the younger generation. The Broadway production closed in 2008, after a 12-year run and 5,124 performances, making it the seventh longest-running Broadway show, eight years behind "The Phantom of the Opera." The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions, and in 2005, it was also adapted into a motion picture that features most of the original cast. The show includes such memorable hits as "Light My Candle," "Seasons of Love," and "La Vie Boheme."

David Kenny plays Mark, a filmmaker and the show's narrator, who shares an industrial loft on the lower East Side with his roommate Roger (JD Driskill), a musician.

Maureen (Michelle Reyes), is a performance artist who is in a relationship with JoAnne (Lindsay Hough), a Harvard Law School graduate.

Mimi (Nikki Berra) is their downstairs neighbor who becomes Roger's love interest as she struggles with a drug problem.

The cast is rounded out by Sam Hyde as Tom Collins, Charlie Nash as Angel, a street musician and Alexander Gomez as Benny, the landlord who reneges on his offer to let them live rent-free for the winter. Also featured are Melissa Joy Castro, Lysis (Charlie) Fecske, Allison (Fox) Fiene, Richie Fiene, Justin Fischer, Becky Hasquet, Brad Rennels, Christian Herrera, and Beth Ann Sweezer.

The Santa Clarita Regional Theter cast is under the direction of Leslie Berra, with choreography by Nancy Alterman, and vocal direction by Tom Lund and Leslie Berra.

"Rent" deals with adult subject matter and is not recommended for children as it contains overt sexual situations and adult language. There will be only six performances at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on March 6, 7, 13, 14, 19 and 20. Ticket prices are from $12 to $29 and may be obtained by calling the box office at (661) 799-2702. Don't miss the show that transformed how a generation feels about musicals, changed Broadway forever, and inspired a major motion picture.


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