Written by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Dr. Robert Vrtis
Center for the Arts: Jewel Theatre
Rent is a 90’s rock musical loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. This upbeat show follows the lives of a group of struggling artists in Manhattan’s East Village living in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The individual stories of love, loss, and passion intertwine to create a thought-provoking musical that promotes the ideal of living life to its fullest.
I’ve often been asked about how we decided to do RENT, and how I feel about it. I don’t like to express how many doubts I had about it from the start. We wouldn’t be staging RENT at all if it wasn’t for our students and their belief that we could. I admittedly didn’t think it was going to happen; I doubted whether we could manage it. Doubts and practicality hold back innovation, creative solutions, and our ability to change our world. They justify our (my) aversion to risk. In a year when our theatre season is struggling with the theme revolution and reformation, it is fitting to note that an unwillingness to accept the world as it is, and a willingness to take risks are vital components to revolution. Optimism about our ability to match the strength of our efforts with the strength of our convictions is necessary to re-form our world. Over the past few weeks I’ve wondered if it is the brashness of youth alone that allows this spirit to thrive. I hope not. I hope that what is youthful in us keeps this spirit alive, if we can only bypass our calcified doubts.