Written by Scott Rigtrup, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine
Bass Concert Hall played host venue to the opening night of the 20th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Broadway play RENT on October 13, 2017. Being in attendance was to say the least, historic!
Set in the late 90′s in New York City, a young group of impoverished artists squatting in an old dilapidated warehouse, band together as they face seemingly insurmountable struggles in pursuit of their youthful hopes and aspirations.
The palette of characters paints an intensely colorful tapestry as their lives joyfully and sorrowfully weave together. The young musician vexed by the death of his lover struggles to discover “that perfect note”. Yet, he finds himself falling hopelessly and fearfully in love with the vivacious striptease dancer who is ensnared in her own life threatening drug addiction.
Meanwhile, the aspiring film maker astutely records the nuances of their eclectic community as he longs to feel connected to the people before him in his camera lens.
Subsequently, a former squatter marries in to money and purchases the very warehouse he once lived in because of his dream of turning it into an institute for the arts, which ironically unveils the tyrannical landlord in him as he threatens to evict the very friends he once lived side by side with.
All the while, the community watches helplessly as the incredibly big hearted “friend to all” springs further alive by meeting the love of his life. Heartbreakingly so, his new hysterically flamboyant cross dressing boyfriend soon succumbs to the ravages of AIDS in his fledgling partners loving arms.
RENT leaves no feeling untouched. The feverish pitch of youthful hope and aspiration, countered by the walloping blows of despair and anguish are ever so gently balanced by the weaving of the abiding thread of reassuring love that undoubtedly conquers all and that is the textile of life.
Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign restages this 20th anniversary tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, RENT) serves as choreographer.
The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include Cinderella, MAMMA MIA!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Vocalosity, and Crazy For You.