by Lorie Lewis Ham
On May 6 the musical Rent will be opening on stage at Fresno State. Recently we chatted with the show’s director, J. Daniel Herring, about the show.
KRL: Why did you choose to do Rent this year?
J. Daniel: Originally, I wanted to direct Rent in 2021, but it was delayed because of the Pandemic. Now, I believe that the experience we all have had with the Pandemic makes many of the topics and themes of Rent even more relevant.
KRL: I totally agree! Is there anything different about this production?
J. Daniel: I hope this production feels more organic and almost improvisational in the way I have staged it. I have also involved the Ensemble more in the overall ark and storytelling of the piece.
KRL: What was the biggest challenge in directing this show?
J. Daniel: The show is almost completely sung, so part of my job is to keep the pace of the show moving forward and making sure the singer/actors are presenting each song as a fully three-dimensional character and not just creating a “pretty” sound.
KRL: What was the most fun?
J. Daniel: Working with a cast of 20 who have been absolutely fully committed to this show even though many of them were not even born when this show first premiered. Watching them embrace the content and messages with such honesty and enthusiasm has been a joy to watch.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. May 6 – 7 and May 10 – 14, and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 9 at the John Wright Theatre on campus. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military and $12 for all students. The production is intended only for mature audiences. Children under 12 are not permitted.
The production team includes choreography by Josh Montgomery, vocal direction by Shannah Estep, musical direction by Jordan Williams, scenic design by Jeff Hunter, costume design by Tamrah Sales, lighting design by Regina Harris, and sound design by Liz Crifasi.
The cast includes I Adeficha, Kathryn Deanna Andres, Brianne Avina, Diego Barba, Jason Bionda, Jimmy Haynie, Molly Heng, Alexis Elisa Macedo, Ethan Magill, Cady Mejias, Andrew B. Mickelson, Tyler Murphy,
Madeline Nelson, Luke Robert Nothstein, Nwachukwu, Josh Plowman, Julia Prieto, Sabrina Ramirez, Mikayla Rockwell, and Anthony teNyenhuis.
Proof of complete COVID vaccination or a negative result from a COVID test performed within 72 hours of the performance day is required to be admitted. Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain. Latecomers will not be permitted, and there are no refunds or exchanges. The box office is open from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance, and it accepts cash, check, or credit card payments.
Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For shows on Tuesday through Thursday night, parking permits are required and can be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus.