BWW Review: RENT 20th Anniversary Tour at Popejoy Hall
Seasons of Love, one of the most well-known songs from Jonathan Larson's rock musical Rent, asks how a year can be measured, then proceeds to answer it can be a measured, "in laughter, in strife...in times that he cried," and, of course, "in love". The audience at Popejoy Hall was treated to all of this and more when the 20th anniversary tour of Rent came to Albuquerque last night. If the reaction at last night's production is anything to go by, everyone is in for an emotional and uplifting night of theatre for the entirety of the musical's run here with us.
Larson's beloved show became a Broadway phenomenon when it premiered in 1996. Loosely based on Puccini's La Boheme, Rent was also heavily influenced by Larson's own life as a struggling artist in New York. Rent revolves around a group of friends living in the East Village who are doing their best to create lives for themselves amid poverty and the HIV/AIDS crisis.
While the entire company of Rent did a wonderful job of bringing the musical to life, there were a few standout performances. The character of Angel is not only the heart of her group of friends, but the heart of the show as well. Javon King does a magnificent job of showing this, bringing Angel's personality to the stage. From the moment he first appears in, "You Okay, Honey?", King steals the show. Devinre Adams is equally as wonderful, bringing a depth and emotional resonance to Tom Collins, especially during Angel's funeral ("I'll Cover You (Reprise)"), which had some audience members in tears. Logan Marks is wonderful as Mark Cohen, exploring the difficulty of trying to find his place in the world even as everything seems to be falling apart around him ("Halloween", "What You Own"). Cody Jenkins as Roger Davis is able to express the depths of Roger's emotions, whether anger at his situation in life ("One Song Glory"), or desire for Mimi but fear of what opening himself up to another relationship ("Another Day").
While the production of Rent was not without its difficulties--whether it was understudies taking center stage, cast changes at intermission, or vocal and technical issues--this production of Rent brought an energy and spirit to the musical that made it easy to overlook them. Overall, the 20th anniversary tour of Rent was an enjoyable experience that moved the audience.
The Rent 20th Anniversary Tour is playing at Popejoy Hall from February 15th- February 17th with productions at 7:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm and 8 pm Saturday, and 1 pm Sunday. Tickets range from $48 - $83, plus fees. They can be purchased at unmtickets.com, the UNM Bookstore ticket office, the UNM ticket office at Dreamstyle Arena or by phone at 877-664-8661 or 505-925-5858.
Image source: Popejoy Hall