BWW Review: RENT at Aronoff Center For The Arts
The 20th anniversary tour cast of "RENT" is taking audiences "over the moon" at the Aronoff Center now through Dec. 23. The Jonathan Larson rock opera tells the story of a group of New Yorkers in the '90s. Together, they struggle through career aspirations, relationships, and AIDS.
While it's been over 20 years since the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical debuted on the great white way, this production feels as important and fresh as ever. Director Evan Ensign uses Michael Greif's original staging with Marlies Yearby's original choreography. The cast, however, is obviously new. Each cast member acts as a perfect vessel for bringing this story back to life.
Zoom in on Logan Marks (Mark Cohen). Marks plays the narrator and struggling filmmaker brought to fame by Anthony Rapp. There were several nods to Rapp's Mark while making the character his own. From the moment he said the iconic line "From here on in I shoot without a script." I was sold. Marks had terrific chemistry with Logan Farine (Roger Davis) throughout the entire show, but perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the night was their duet in the second act "What You Own". Both of their voices blended flawlessly and made for a triumphant jam.
Farine's Roger was incredibly powerful, as the audience sees him struggling between isolation and love for the majority of the show. His vulnerability, shown especially in his dynamic with Deri'Andra Tucker (Mimi) is something to be admired. Farine had an incredible rock voice that soared in every song. "One Song Glory" is the moment where the audience gets to see inside Roger's head, and Farine executed it perfectly.
Close up on Lyndie Moe (Maureen). This lady shows her star quality from the moment she enters with a single spotlight on her as she says, "Joanne, which way to the stage?". Moe has terrific physical comedy shown in "Over the Moon" where she is protesting Benny's plans of gentrification. Her chemistry with Lencia Kebede (Joanne) radiates in the famous "Take Me or Leave Me" as both women belt to the heavens and back.
The entire cast brings such love, light, and heart into this iconic musical, with terrific performances all across the board. Maybe it's because this was my first time seeing the show, but this cast will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Whether you are like me and have never gotten the chance to see "RENT" live, or you want to revisit an old favorite over the holidays, I cannot recommend going "out tonight" to see "RENT" at the Aronoff now through Dec. 23 enough!
Tickets to "RENT" can be purchased by calling the Aronoff Box Office at 513-621-2787 or purchasing them online. "RENT" will also offer $25 front side orchestra seats the day of the performance starting two hours prior to showtime.