by Lorie Lewis Ham
Rent is a rock musical set in the end of the 1980’s with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. It tells the story of a group of starving young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City. Much of the group suffers with HIV/AIDS, and those that don’t, have to deal with the heartbreak of the eventual loss. This is one of my favorite musicals. The stories of deep love, friendship, living life in the moment, and staying true to one’s art, touch the artist in me and touch my heart.
My 18 year old daughter and I got the privilege of seeing a dress rehearsal of the Visalia production of this show this week and were blown away. Having seen this show on stage several times, including with the original Mark (Anthony Rapp) and Roger (Adam Pascal), I have to say that this production stands up well against those professional productions. Casting is excellent, voices were fabulous, everything was wonderful!Peter Allwine, a KRL favorite, plays Mark and Danielle Jorn, who I have enjoyed in numerous shows, plays Maureen. Both were amazing as always—but I have to say the entire cast was great! I have to give kudos’ to the directing and crew as well. The cast was brought together from around the Valley, many with COS and Good Company Players connections. If you love Rent—don’t miss this production! If you’ve never seen Rent, what are you waiting for? It will make you smile, laugh and cry and the music is fantastic. “Seasons of Love” is one of the best songs ever written.
What makes this production even more wonderful and a must see, is that a portion of the ticket sales go toward local HIV/AIDS charitable work. You can learn more about that in a previous article about the show. You can also learn more about how this production came together in another earlier article.
So don’t miss out! Rent opens at the Main Street Theatre in downtown Visalia, 307 East Main Street, this Friday, July 22 at 8 p.m. The remaining performances are July 23, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and July 24 and 31 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets.
Editor’s note: This is not a children’s show. There are sexual references and some strong language and adult content.