BWW Review: RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
It is hard to believe that Rent opened twenty years ago (now twenty one!). Though RENT continues to live in the hearts of fans all over the world, some of us self-declared "Rentheads" are cautious of future productions. We ask ourselves - "Will our favorite iconic costumes be featured?", "Will the cast stay true to the original?", "Will I feel the same fire in my heart that I felt during the original Broadway production" and most of all "Will this production do the late Jonathan Larson proud?".
Sadly, productions I have seen since the closing - from local theatres to schools - have received a "No" for all of the above answers. Missing passion, heart and even Mark's infamous scarf. But let me say, the current tour does the world justice!
The 20th Anniversary production of RENT is a flawless, heart pumping, glorious remembrance of the original from 1996. The cast young and chipper with their own interpretations yet thrive upon the solid foundation that is RENT - heart, angst, sadness, compassion - everything is brought to the metal tables that they dance on during La Vie Boheme.
During the performance, I felt a mix of nostalgia and "bringing in the new". Each actor brought their own quirks that gave our loveable characters a fresh coat of paint. It felt like coming home seeing the familiar set and Roger hitting the first few notes before the cast rushes to the stage.
I would like to highlight Danny Kornfeld, who played filmmaker and heart of the group; Mark Cohen. In my group of Rentheads, we have discussed how Mark is like Jonathan Larson; an eccentric individual living to share stories about life and illness of his friends with audiences. I can't pinpoint what, but Danny Kornfeld blew my mind. I felt that God mixed Anthony Rapp and Jonathan Larson into one person with a pinch of the youth of the 21st century.
Ensemble member and understudy, Paola Hernandez went on as Maureen when I saw the show in Boston. She was exhilarating and definitely a memorable Maureen in my books!
I highly recommend this production of RENT to fans old and new. For details on upcoming stops, please visit rentontour.com.
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg 2016.