This May, Jonathan Larson”™s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical Rent is coming to Big Art Labs in Downtown, L.A.
Report by Pauline Adamek
$20.00 seats – only 12 shows – RENT: DOWNTOWN L.A. is to be held in a secret warehouse location in an industrial part of town. The musical numbers will be the same, but the company is adding their own West Coast flavor to the hit musical. Beverages will be served to the audience in brown paper bags (!), and local musicians will be providing the score. From the moment you enter the space, you will be immersed in the Rent experience.
An exuberant rock opera, with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, Rent is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini”™s classic tragic opera La BohÃ¨me, about struggling artists in 19th Century Paris. Larson”™s poignant version updates the setting to the mid-1990s and tells the story of a group of impoverished young East Village artists, musicians, addicts, activists and AIDS sufferers who scorn material success in favor of personal and artistic freedom, friendship and love. This motley collection of twenty-something bohemians are struggling to survive and create in New York”™s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
The action has moved to Manhattan, and Puccini”™s Rodolpho, Marcello and Colline have become Roger, Mark and Tom Collins, but the main dramatic focus remains: how to pay — or not to pay — the rent.
Above all, Rent is about being young and learning to survive, falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. A theatrical experience full of explosive energy, Rent forever changed the Broadway landscape, and continues to inspire with its powerful ideas, timeless emotions, and captivating rock score.
The Downtown L.A. production of Rent features Amber Stevens (from TV”™s hit series GREEK) as Mimi Marquez and Adam Shapiro (from Tom Ford”™s award-winning film A SINGLE MAN) as Mark Cohen.
Rounding out the Los Angeles based cast are Nate Aylworth, Tamika Katon-Donegal, JD Driskill, Tiffany Gray, Emily Goglia, Natalie Hoy, Jason McGee, Michael Montiel, Heather Ogilvy, Kyle Pierce, Chris Sams, Tyler Scheef, Jason Stamey, Megan Dorn-Wallenstein and Meredith Wheeler.
Rent received its world premiere off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop on February 12, 1996 to acclaimed reviews. It became an overnight sensation and transferred to Broadway on April 29th, 1996 where it ran for 12 years, being called “Ground-breaking” by the New York Times and “A raw and riveting milestone in musical theatre” by Rolling Stone. Rent is the 7th longest running show in Broadway history.
The success of Rent is always tempered by the death of its creator, Jonathan Larson. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on January 25th 1996, just hours after Rent”™s final dress rehearsal and ten days before his 36th birthday.
RENT: DOWNTOWN L.A. is produced by Kate Sullivan, associate produced by Colin Fickes, features direction by Kate Sullivan and Caitlin S. Hart, musical direction by Chip Colvin, choreography by Sarah Maher, set design by Sylvie Hitchcock, costume design by Rachel Kroner, lighting design by Morgan Edwards, sound design by Nicel Guerra and casting by Tamara Hunter.
RENT: DOWNTOWN L.A.
Location – TBA
For additional information visit the RENT: DOWNTOWN L.A. website
or email [email protected]
Runs May 5th through May 28th, 2011
Performances run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00pm.
Purchase tickets via the RENT: DOWNTOWN L.A. website.