Celebrating life and love over a decade later: 'Rent

By Tatiana Craine

Since 1996, “Rent”?has been wowing audiences across the world. Jonathan Larson’s brainchild has endured the test of Broadway-time, and more than a decade later, the themes within the show still ring true. “Rent” follows a year, or 525,600 minutes, in the lives of seven friends in the East Village as they deal with living on the edge of poverty, coping with HIV and AIDS, nursing drug habits and finding themselves. The show is filled with timeless messages about life, love, loss, death and justice. “Rent” is “La Boheme” for the turn of the millenium, filled with passionate rock ballads and pulsating energy.

This week, the Orpheum Theatre is the home for the 2009 touring production of “Rent.” Boasting three original cast members (Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Gwen Stewart), the show has a seasoned feel. The chemistry between each of the cast members is electric and full of life. Pascal and Rapp appear as if they have barely aged since they starred in the original production of “Rent.” Their energy shined in the hearts of the audience members. The entire cast’s performance epitomized the essence of what one expects to see, hear and feel during a Broadway show.

The lighting and the sets complimented the rag-tag bunch of characters well. A rock and roll set with wrecked bike parts and chain link fencing was erected in the middle of the stage-it was both a jungle gym and a sanctuary in the show. The lighting was stark and harsh casting heavy shadows and bright glows upon the metal wreckage. The use of the spotlight in “Rent”?was impeccable; the actors’ silhouettes radiated upon the backdrop, angelic and larger than life.

From the vibrant characters and the poignant songs to the quintessential 1990s costumes and the fantastic orchestra, “Rent” is a must-see.

“Rent” is showing at the Orpheum Theatre through March 29. Student rush tickets are available for $20 each, cash only with valid student ID. Student rush tickets are available one hour prior to the show.