Rent School Edition - March 16 - March 18, 2017

Colonial Players

 Notes from the Director 


"In these dangerous times, where it seems the world is ripping apart at the seams, we can all learn how to survive from those who stare death squarely in the face every day and [we] should reach out to each other and bond as a community, rather than hide from the terrors of life...” -Jonathan Larson (1996)


In 1996, the face of Broadway theater changed forever as a little-known composer/writer named Jonathan Larson brought Rent to the stage.  At the time, Rent was cutting edge theater, dealing with issues of drug use, sexuality, and the AIDS epidemic, all wrapped into a contemporary rock opera format.   That same year, Rent won four Tony awards, including Best Musical, and was nominated for a Grammy award and Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  The original cast included many of today’s stage and screen stars, including Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel.  The author, Jonathan Larson, described the show: “[Rent is] about a community celebrating life, in the face of death and AIDS, at the turn of the century.”  Unfortunately, Jonathan died of an aortic aneurysm the night before preview for the show started making Rent’s mantra of “No day but today!” mean so much more.


Rent was the Hamilton of my generation.  I have always loved the story and music.  In my view, Rent strips humanity down to its basic emotions of fear, anger, sadness, joy and love.  The characters are authentic and represent so many voices in our society.  At its heart, Rent is about community, relationships and people. People of all backgrounds, race, religion and sexual preference coming together. People who are fighting against isolation to find a connection. People fighting against society to feel like they belong. People who are striving to find people to care about and to find those who will care about them. People yearning to find love. It's about love.


This season, we were blessed to have experienced a Masterclass with Wilson J. Heredia, the actor who played Angel in the original Broadway cast and film of Rent.  This Tony-winning actor spent four hours in February with the cast and crew discussing the characters and development of the original production of Rent.  Additionally, he workshopped some of our scenes to help improve our understanding of the show’s messages and provide insight into the depth of the characters.  It was a wonderful day for all, and one that will not be forgotten.  



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