Rent - June 30 - July 09, 2023

May River Theatre

 Message from the Director 

A message from the Director,


From 1988 - 1993 I was a theatre/film student chasing my dreams across the country. Where I never experienced NYC during this time frame, I did live in two other large and iconic cities, Los Angeles and Chicago. I was blessed to meet artists and creatives from around the world as we all gravitated to these places hoping to find opportunities as well as our place in a post-Reagan era. Shoulder pads, neon, and big hair rock bands were being replaced with plaid skirts, flannel and the Seatle sound. As young artists we were quickly realizing that the myth of the starving artist was just that, a myth. We were faced with the reality of survival. And through it all I found that the constant need amongst the creative indivduals I knew was for love and acceptance. It was about finding the people that accepted us and raised us up in all our glory. 


Which brings us to this musical, "Jonathan Larson's iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that shaped a generation of audiences and taught us all to measure our life in love" ( This show has the gift of meaning something different to each person in the audience, which I discussed our first week of rehearsals. How do we each honor his story and vision while fulfilling the audiences individual expectations as we delve into our own path of discovery? For me RENT is like a great piece of abstract art. We see it, we interpret it with our own life experiences, and if we are lucky, we feel it deeply. A large black canvas square with a thin white jagged line cutting through it becomes the way a young boy feels in an overwhelming world, it is humanity. (Thank you Prof. Harrison for sharing this abstract art story with me 20 years ago.)


In directing RENT I am blessed that I was able to share this experience with a cast and crew that has given fully of themselves, before day 1 of rehearsals, showing up self-rehearsed and memorized (mostly). Their diverse backgrounds and experiences made this a complex, yet loving, theatre family. They willingly shared their personal stories of why RENT was significant to them and their own life journy and the "family" opened their arms with complete love and acceptance; they are a representation of what community theatre should be. 


For each individual that has helped in bringing this important story to our MRT stage, thank you. David McLaughlin, I cannot imagine tackling this without you. Your commitment to your craft, this story and our cast is everything and I am eternally grateful you are in my life. I am also blessed to serve on a theatre board that trusts my continued quest to bring compelling musicals/plays to the Bluffton community. I appreciate the hard work they all did behind the scenes to make sure not only that this production was a success, but that each venture we delve into has full support. A support that is supplemented by our amazing team of volunteers. You are also a crucial part of the MRT family.


Speaking of family, their endless support is everything. Thank you to my husband Donny and daughter Cait for being part of this creative journey. But more importantly, thank you Donny for being my partner in raising two amazing children, who have not only embraced our message of openly loving and being loved, but are also strong advocates and supporters for others that may not have the same support in their given situations. Fierce yet caring, a balance of us.


It is with great pride that I present this group of performers. Darlings, you are everything.


Elizabeth Schlieger

Director RENT

MRT Board President



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