(Presented by Jerica Productions/The Royal Underground Theatre Company)
Even before its off-Broadway premiere, playwright/composer Jonathan Larson’s ambitious vision for Rent was that it would be “Hair for the ’90s, to bring musical theater to the MTV generation.” Let me inform you, ever so gently and without totally disturbing your nap, that the cast of this production is made up of the adult children of the MTV Generation. So grab your canes and let’s go to the Hudson Backstage.
There are few things I like better than to see a theatre filled with all sorts of people—old, young, sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads, and righteous dudes—because it means we’ve all connected on another level, the level that transcends it all.
Musicals can often be difficult to get your head into because the songs are new and unfamiliar. I hadn’t listened to the Rent soundtrack in ages yet found the songs are still clear, involving, and tell the story of this group of starving artists in Alphabet City.
Everything you love about Rent is here if you’ve never seen it or if you’ve seen it 10 times, if you’re 65 or 16.
Director Jerianne Banson has done a brilliant job of bringing forth the spirit and story of the play, with all you know and love, and reigniting it with contemporary meaning and expression. This is no “revival” of a 1990s favorite. The small, live band performing throughout the musical is tight and vibrant; I caught myself looking over at them often and their intensity never waned.
And the cast—I mention them one, I mention them all—is jam-packed with sparkly standouts who shoot talent and energy out of their pores for two and a half hours straight—Jason Aaronson, Benjamin Alicea, Enrico Banson, Deosick Burney, Valerie Charles, Dominique Cox, Cy Creamer, Nathan Crocker, Ali Eagle, Jason Esposito, Andy Eubanks, Amelia Harris, Timothy Hearl, Anthony Michael Knott, Holly Nugent, Matt Pick, Charlie Rayshad, Deon Sams, Tiffany Van Cott, Ana Villafane, and Leigh Golden. You will definitely have your favorites, but all are stupendous.
It took Jonathan Larson seven years to write Rent. When it was over, it took the Hudson audience one second to jump to its feet.
Tickets are highly recommended and are available from Plays411 online here -- or call (323) 960-7822 to order by phone.
Hudson Backstage Theatre
6539 SantaMonica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Valet, lot and street parking.
Now through Saturday, April 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m.
Running time is about 2 1/2 hours with a 10-minute intermission
This theatre has concessions.
No late seating. The performance includes smoke and strobe lighting.
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