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Interview: Lyndie Moe of RENT

RENT runs at the Saenger Theatre Nov. 26-28

Interview: Lyndie Moe of RENT

For a quarter of a century, Jonathan Larson's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece RENT has inspired us to choose love over fear and to live without regret. Its immeasurable emotional impact has forever changed the world of musical theatre.

And now the production is saying goodbye with its "Farewell Season of Love" tour. Whether this is your first-time seeing RENT, or your 25th, you certainly don't want to miss this touring run of a Broadway staple.

From Nov. 26-28, the touring production will take the stage at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans. sat down with Lyndie Moe to speak with her on her role as Maureen, favorite moments from the show, and the impact of RENT still has to this day.

BroadwayWorld: So, 25 years, how does it feel with it being the farewell tour?

Moe: Obviously I'm very connected with the show, as well as the entirety of our cast and our crew and the band and the creative team. Our director has gotten pretty sad in the rehearsal process just like knowing that this will be the last time that we're doing the blocking, the original blocking, from the Broadway version. There's a lot of love that's being spread around the community and our cast because it's the last farewell tour. It's very bittersweet because we're all very excited to spread this message and it's the last year, but it's also like, oh, it's the last year, so it's sad as well.

BroadwayWorld: And I bet that bittersweetness is even tenfold with all the goings on in the world currently.

Moe: Yes, it's all just a lot to handle and this show, I wouldn't want to be in any other show that's able to share a message. RENT's message is something that's unlike anything I have ever seen and especially with Covid and all the terrible things that are happening, it just feels really important that we are able to tell this story.

BroadwayWorld: What are some of your favorite moments from the show?

Moe: I would say starting at the beginning of the show as soon as Mark goes onstage, Roger strums his guitar and then the entire cast runs on the stage and we all just sort of stand there. And the house lights are up so we're like including the audience into our story. And I think that is one of my favorite moments because we all are just sort of looking at each other and feeling the energy of the house and feeling the energy of all of us and how we are that day. I really love that moment because we get to take that second on the stage and really tune in to what's happening in the present.

BroadwayWorld: Do you have a particular favorite song?

Moe: That I like to sing or that I like to hear?

BroadwayWorld: How about both?

Moe: Okay, I feel like it changes. It changes a lot. I've been with the show for some time. I think right now it would have to be...I love singing "Seasons of Love." I know that's a little bit of a cliché answer. Or the finale. The finale is so much fun to sing. They both just uplift everybody in the auditorium, and it just feels so good to be saying those words.

BroadwayWorld: What were some of the ways you approached your role, particularly who she is as a character and her relationships with different people such as Mark.

Moe: As soon as I learned about the character in the show, I've always sort of related to Maureen in the sense that she is just who she is and she's very weird and she's unapologetic for it though, which I really admire about her. I love how she's extremely confident. I would like to take that with me after this contract...But I think she is able to have all these relationships with everybody, and she's a little self-centered, but everybody knows it comes from a place of love. She cares about everybody deeply, but this is just her world. And all of her friends love her for that, and I think that can be very special. Do you have a favorite costume piece that you wear?

Moe: Yes, I would have to say my Act II outfit. It's those black like vinyl's like a catsuit that Maureen comes out in for the Happy New Year's scene. I definitely love that outfit. Our costume designer, Angela Wendt, she is really incredible, and she's been with the show since Broadway. She helps when she fits us for our costumes and everything. It just feels really incredible, and she always finds things that not only go with the character, but with us as people. So, I really appreciate that.

BroadwayWorld: What kind of impact do you think RENT has on our society today, 25 years after its premiere, while also considering that there are people who have never seen the stage show?

Moe: And there are still people who, if they haven't seen it and they do see it, they'll get offended by some of the material and walk out, which only proves that RENT really was ahead of its time. When this came out, the fact that it even still can affect some people today shows a lot about the show. I think that accepting if you're addicted to something, accepting your sexuality or important things about just being a person I think RENT covers a lot of those topics and the hardships that come with that and how to get through it. Mainly the message is you have to find the love in everything. You have to find the pros of accepting who you are and all you can be. And I think that message is timeless in itself. Is there anything you learned about yourself as a person from your experience working on RENT?

Moe: Oh, I love this, I love that question. Yea, I would say that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. I didn't even think this dream was possible. Before I even got the role, I was like, 'Oh that's just so far removed,' and then I got the role and I was like, 'Oh I'm not going to be able to actually do this,' and then I was able to do it and they asked me back, and this is my third year. I think a lot of the times humans just doubt themselves way more than they should. At least I put a lot of pressure on myself. But that pressure needs to be there. If you've done the work and you know your body, it will be there for you and it will show up. So, I think I've learned to just trust myself more and I've learned to trust my body and the people around me and that everything will be okay.

BroadwayWorld: What first attracted you to the role? Did you specifically audition for Maureen?

Moe: It was my first year of college and a group of my friends were like, 'We're going to the open call of RENT.' And I actually didn't know the show that well, so I was like, 'Oh cool, let me look it up,' and I looked it up and I was like, 'Oh yea, I'd love to go along,' because I saw Maureen's character. At the time I was just hoping to get maybe ensemble or a swinger or anything. I just wanted to go on the road. But I went to the open call and got a callback and that's when I really started diving into her character and seeing everything she was about. I had my eyes set on her from the moment I got my first callback.

BroadwayWorld: What was that first initial reaction after you got cast?

Moe: It was the coolest thing. I actually missed the first call because I was taking a nap. So, I woke up and there was this voice mail from a New York number, and I was like *gasp* and it said, 'Hi this is the company of RENT, please give us a call back.' So, I called back, and then they said I had gotten the role of Maureen, and I remembered just feeling was a different level of consciousness, like I didn't feel how I usually felt at all. And I remember calling my mom being like, 'I-I got this role,' and she was like, 'No it must be a mistake, it must be a mistake.' But it wasn't.

BroadwayWorld: If you could describe the entire experience in one word, what would it be?

Moe: Eye-opening.

BroadwayWorld: Is there anything you'd like to add that I didn't specifically ask or touch upon?

Moe: I'm very excited to go to New Orleans. I think we're all extremely excited to go there.

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