BWW TV: 'RENT: One Last Refrain with Will Chase'
On Sunday September 7, 2008 the curtain fell on Broadway for the final performance of the landmark musical Rent. In celebration of this production going out in "one blaze of glory", BWW TV spoke with Will Chase about the power of Jonathan Larson's words and music and how its message of love will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of the people it touched.
Will Chase, a three-time Chicago area Joseph Jefferson Award nominee, made his Broadway debut in Rent in 1998. He returns to the stage of the Nederlander Theatre in the role of Roger Davis as a member of the final cast of Rent. Chase has starred on Broadway in High Fidelity, Lennon, The Full Monty, Aida and Miss Saigon. He recently appeared, to much critical acclaim in Signature Theater's 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'.
The cast of Rent includes Tracie Thoms who starred as Joanne in the movie of Rent and has come to the Broadway company in the same role as well as Will Chase as Roger, Renee Elise Goldsberry as Mimi, Eden Espinosa as Maureen, Michael McElroy as Collins, Adam Kantor as Mark, Justin Johnston as Angel, Rodney Hicks as Benny with Shaun Earl, Andrea Goss, Marcus Paul James, Telly Leung, Tracy McDowell, Jay Wilkison, and Gwen Stewart ("Seasons of Love" soloist). Rodney Hicks and Gwen Stewart were both in the original company of Rent and have rejoined the cast to close the show.
Rent opened off-Broadway in January 1996 before moving to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre in April of the same year. The musical tells the story of a group of destitute artists and musicians struggling to survive and be heard in New York's Lower East Side. Rent was one of the first Broadway musicals to feature an ethnically diverse cast, including homosexual and bisexual characters.
Rent, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, opened at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, on April 29, 1996 following a history making, sold out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Rent is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.
Video shot and edited by E. Matthew Cady