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BWW Preview: RENT's 20th Anniversary Tour Comes to the Triangle


It's hard to believe it's been 20 years (that's 10,512,000 minutes) since we first met Mark, Roger, and the rest of the gang - Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, and Joanne (and Benny, if you consider him part of the gang).

But it has, and America is celebrating the anniversary of "Rent" with a national tour. That tour is stopping in Durham next month, and I spoke with Jasmine Easler, who plays Joanne, about her experience and what Triangle audiences can expect.

Like many actors, the first time Easler performed in "Rent" was in high school. For this performance, she said, she "reached back to what first drew" her to the character while drawing on the aspects of the musical that have changed over the years. She brings her own vibe to the part as well - "a little bit geeky and a little bit clumsy," and learned from other actors how to bring Joanne's confidence on stage.

The 2016 production is "really rich with the energy" that 2016 itself has. The changes in the new production are most evident in its technology - the lighting, for instance, has really changed, and the cast and crew "pay homage to...things that are common now."

What hasn't changed, though, is "how much of a blast it still is." After 20 years, the story, the characters, and the music are "still just as alive" as they were when "Rent" was first performed. It might even "start to feel like a rock concert," Easler said, and she encourages audience members to go with it. If your cheers turn to yells, that's just part of the show's "One Song Glory."

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From This Author Taryn Oesch

Taryn is a copyeditor and freelance writer in Raleigh, where she is a behind-the-scenes member of the theatre community. Her favorite plays/musicals are Next to (read more...)