RENT 'Goes Up' at South Jersey's Newest Theater Company

January 23
10:16 AM 2012

 Set in the early 1990s, the musical is inspired by Puccini's La Boheme, and chronicles a year in the life of a group of friends living in the East Village during the height of the AIDS epidemic. This story of young bohemians in New York City and their battles with poverty has survived for decades as one of Broadway's most popular musicals among young and old with a cult-like following of fans affectionately known as RENT heads.

Collaborative Stage Productions (CSP) is South Jerseys' newest non-profit professional theatre company that recently announced its collaboration with The Eagle Theatre, a non-profit culturally diverse performing arts center located in downtown Hammonton, New Jersey.  

CSP was created by the founders of Stage Left Productions, Ed Corsi, and The Collaborative Act Studio (TCAS), Ted Wioncek III Producing Artistic Director.

RENT 'Goes Up' at South Jersey's Newest Theater Company

This intimate 160- seat theater located in the heart of Hammonton NJ, brought down the curtains and bright lights and put up dark walls, platforms, cat walks and heavy metal tables as set designer Justin Mead creates a cold slum-like space unfit for most people. But this young, miss matched "family" calls it home.

Under the direction of Ed "Rico' Santiago, this bare bones raw production leaves nothing to chance in capturing all the emotions and character of the piece. Larson's pop-rock score continues to delight, and is sung well by the ensemble cast. 

 Eagle Theater's own  Ed Corsi takes on the role of Mark, the aspiring camera toting film maker who narrates the plot wittingly while interacting with the cast with enormous passion and one heck of a singing voice.

At the center of the story is Roger Davis, former rock star fresh out of rehab, and reeling from the RENT 'Goes Up' at South Jersey's Newest Theater Companydeath of his girlfriend April. Philadelphia born national recording artist Brian Bortnick plays the role of Roger Davis.  Recently, Brian toured with American Idol Season 6 finalist Chris Sligh. 

Bortnick  gives us a glimpse of his vocal talent with a tender "Your Eyes" and the duet with Christina Maslin, (Mimi) "Light My Candle" and " I should Tell You".  Maslin impresses more as a dancer and effective actor than a singer as she moves and belts well but struggles a bit with her high notes in an otherwise sweetly sung "Without You" . 

 Maureen (Rachel-Pinkston-Marx), puts her all into her "Over The Moon" and the combustible relationship she shares with Joanne (Benita Simpson) is well played out. The stand out performance has to go to Angel played by Josh Bessinger bringing the much needed levity to the piece and Bessinger is -over-the -top delightful.

  RENT 'Goes Up' at South Jersey's Newest Theater CompanyChoreography by Dianne Certo is tight and well executed and musical director Jason Neri and a five piece band fully bring all 30+ musical numbers to life beautifully. This "Seasons of Love" company number is as passionate and well delivered as it gets.  The entire company gives a focused and emotion filled performance that works!

"The Eagle Theatre is proud to welcome Collaborative Stage Productions to our venue. It is our expectation that this partnership will elevate the caliber of the performing arts in Southern New Jersey, and provide audiences from around the region with an intimate, comfortable space to see top-notch professional theatre," says James Donio, President of The Eagle Theatre.

 For more information about the theatre and the 2012 season, please visit . RENT plays at the Eagle Theater, 208 Vine St.Hammonton, NJ at selected dates through February 11. Call (609) 704-5012 for tickets or more information.

 Photo # 1, Eagle Theatre - courtesy Eagle Theatre

Photo # 2, Christina Maslin (Mimi), Brian Bortnick (Roger) - courtesy Eagle Theatre

Photo # 3, RENT company, Chris Miller, Photographer














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Pati Buehler Pati has been involved with various aspects of the theater from hosting large groups to Broadway shows in the early 90's to supporting various Broadway artists for charities such as the "Make A Wish Foundation", The Leukemia Society, and Gilda's Club, programs supporting fighting ovarian cancer. New York's Jane Ellisa's Shining Star Award for the Leukemia Society. In 2001, she began writing for various theater-based web sites from,, and

Her passion is Arts and Education and Fundraising for Non Profit Organizations. In 2002 she teamed up with Broadway star Craig Schulman (Les Miserables/Phantom/Jekyll & Hyde) to put together a traveling Broadway in your school Workshop/Master Class program that has thrilled young artists and theater groups across the country.

She began producing live concert events as PB Entertainment in 2003 at various venues. From 2004-2006 she produced two seasons of professional events for Eastern High School Performing Arts Center, Voorhees, NJ including Neil Berg's "100 Years of Broadway", two Rockin' Oldies events, a Broadway cast Jazz Show and the Southern New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Australian world class violinist Martin Lass and more. In 2013 Pati produced “Broadway Sings For Newtown” bringing 6 Broadway artists together to perform for the Newtown Conn. Community to benefit the “Healing Arts Foundation” and honoring all the families involved in the Sandy Hook School tragedy.

Venue Affiliations: Theater Reviews: Forrest Theater, Merriam Theater, Walnut Street Theater, The Academy of Music, The Kimmel Center, Peter Nero & the Philly Pops, Media Theater, Lenape Regional PAC, The Arden Theater, The Prince Music Theater, The Paper Mill Playhouse, The Bristol Riverside Theater, Commerce Bank Arts Center, Surflight Theater, Society Hill Playhouse, Philadelphia Theater Company and more.

Events Producer: Ritz Theater Company, Ocean City Music Pier, Collingswood Foundation For the Arts , Stafford Township Performing Arts Center, Mainstage Center for the Performing Arts , Eastern Center For the Performing Arts, Newtown Conn. Arts Festival.

Pati owns and manages PB Entertainment LLC. and is a director for a private fundraising company Fundagroup.


School Of Rock
Phoenix Performing Arts Centre
(Runs 6/10 - 6/19)
Open Stage of Harrisburg
(Runs 5/12 - 5/15)
Jesus Christ Superstar
Dramateurs at the Barn
(Runs 4/29 - 5/14)
South Pacific
Hershey Area Playhouse
(Runs 7/21 - 7/31)
The Christians
The Wilma Theater
(Runs 5/4 - 5/29)