Photo Flalsh: Royal Underground Theatre Company's RENT
Presented by The Royal Underground Theatre Company, RENT has been extended through May 21 at Hudson Backstage Theatre - 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90038. Directed by Jerianne Banson, featuring Jason Aaronson, Kate Alden, Benjamin Alicea, Enrico Banson, Barry Brisco, Deosick Burney, Valerie Charles, Cy Creamer, Nathan Crocker, Ali Eagle, Jason Esposito, Leigh Golden, Amelia Harris, Timothy Hearl, Rashonda Johnson, Matt Pick, Charlie Rayshad, Jepoy Ramos, Tiffany Van Cott, and Ana Villafane.
The creative team brings back many from the San Francisco regional production; Adrienne Fraser on Set Design, Cherilyn Chang on Costumes, Johanna Tolentino on Choreography and Shoshana Zisk as the Musical Director. Joining the team are Lighting Designer Max Krongaus, Co-Choreographer Steven M. Thomas and Production Stage Manager Jeffrey Ramos.
Based on Puccini's 'La Boheme', Jonathan Larson's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning revolutionary rock opera ‘Rent' tells the story of one year in the life of eight friends living the Bohemian life struggling to express themselves through their art and "measuring their lives in love." Against the gritty backdrop of New York's East Village, these friends strive for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty, illness and the AIDS epidemic.
On Sunday, April 17th in Beverly Hills, RENT Hollywood was invited to brunch at The Farm with members of the extended RENT Family hosted by none other than the late Jonathan Larson's family; his sister Julie, and his parents Nan and Al 'Pops' Larson. Among the attendees were original Broadway cast members Anthony Rapp (Mark), Gwen Stewart (Seasons Soloist), as well as Jai Rodriguez (Broadway/West Coast Angel) original RENT production costume designer Angela Wendt, Stu James (Broadway/National Tour Benny), Lesly Terrell Donald (Broadway/National Tour Collins) and Yassmin Alers (Broadway/Hollywood Bowl production). With the Larsons inviting RENT Hollywood to the extended RENT family, director Jerianne Banson says "it only validates what were trying to do with our production, and that is to spread the message of love and living each day like it's your last. Everyone here just welcomed us with open arms. It's one thing to visit a rehearsal but it's another to be invited to such a warm atmosphere and share the love that RENT and Jonathan Larson's legacy inspires. The support of the extended RENT family, from cast and crew alums to the Larsons themselves has inspired our production immensely. Now that we've been invited to be a part of the extended RENT family, it just comes completely full circle."
Royal Underground/Jerica Productions spearheaded by brother and sister duo Jerianne and Enrico Banson, who mounted the Regional Premiere of RENT in San Francisco, has taken the musical to Los Angeles. Many RENT fans have credited their rendition as the best regional version paying homage to the iconic original Broadway production while finding new creative staging. So much so, that their production has earn nominations for BroadwayWorld.com's San Francisco Fan Choice Theatre Awards for 2010, earning a Best Leading Actor nomination for Enrico Banson as Roger who is reprising the role in the Hollywood production. Coincidentally enough, Jason Aaronson who plays Mark opposite Banson was also nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance of the West Coast Premiere of Glory Days. Adrienne Fraser, the production designer for RENT Hollywood garnered a Best Scenic Design award for her design of the San Francisco production.
Yet the most exciting aspect of RENT Hollywood is how much RENT alums have come out and support the production. Recently, Stu James (Broadway/Nat'l Tour Benny) and Lesly Terrell Donald (Broadway/Nat'l Tour Collins) came to see the show and met with the cast and crew. Shaun Earl (Broadway/Nat'l Tour Angel) also came and supported as well as Gwen Stewart (Original Broadway Cast Seasons Soloist) who has unofficially become the production's "RENT" advisor. Director Jerianne Banson says "it's been so wonderfully overwhelming as so many others are yet to come now that we've extended. This is what makes it all worthwhile for everyone in the production, to have the extended RENT family from Broadway alums to Jonathan's closest friends, relatives and now family members show their love and support. We couldn't be happier as a production."
In 1998, the brother and sister team of Enrico and Jerianne Banson formed JERICA an independent production company based in San Francisco, California. The production company primarily focuses on film and cinema while branching out to other forms of media and entertainment such as web publication and performing arts. The production group consists of artists of all kinds who enjoy working in an industry-based environment, practicing industry-style ethics, while maintaining an atmosphere that is accessible and enjoyable. JERICA strives as a film and media group providing young independent artists of all kinds, a doorway to present their works and be heard.
THE ROYAL UNDERGROUND is the performing arts branch of its parent company JERICA, dedicated to producing high quality performance works of all kinds: Theatre, Dance, Poetry, Music, and Performance Arts. Firmly believing that audiences are attracted to new questions, not old answers, the Royal Underground produces exciting, muscular, and intelligent plays, musicals and new works that are innovative, at times provocative, and always entertaining; productions that not only challenge the artists involve but the audience as well. For more information about JERICA and the ROYAL UNDERGROUND please visit www.jericaproductions.com
Photo CRedit: Jerianne Banson
Jerianne Banson, Julie Larson, Enrico Banson
Cast of RENT
Cast of RENT
Anthony Rapp, Jason Aaronson
Al Larson, Jerianne Banson