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BWW Review: Celebrating 20 years in Korea, RENT at D Cube Art Center

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BWW Review: Celebrating 20 years in Korea, RENT at D Cube Art Center

'Seasons of Love', one of the most well-known numbers of RENT has been sung in various South Korean media. It would not be an exaggeration to say that 'Seasons of Love' is a musical number that all South Koreans would have at least once, along with 'This is the Moment' from JEKYLL & HYDE. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of RENT in Korea, 'Seasons of Love' was sung by actors who wrote the history of RENT in South Korea along with the actors of the current production. On July 5th, 2020, Seensee Company organized 'Rent Homecoming Day' to celebrate the 20th anniversary of RENT in Korea. In this show, some of the original Korean cast of RENT appeared in the show as cameos and a total of 47 actors came out after the curtain call to introduce themselves and to sing a specially arranged version of 'Seasons of Love' (Video at the bottom, 'Seasons of Love' starting at 18:30). The first show of RENT in 2000 was staged on July 5th, and exactly 20 years later, RENT is in the theatres again despite the COVID-19 crisis, singing about love, hope, and friendship in difficult times. I was lucky enough to be in the audience to celebrate this meaningful moment, and it was a heartwarming sight to see all the actors together on stage, singing 'Seasons of Love'.

BWW Review: Celebrating 20 years in Korea, RENT at D Cube Art Center

RENT, Jonathan Larson's masterpiece that he never got to see awing audiences, talks about issues that were easily neglected 20 years ago such as HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, lives of LGBTQ people, and more. However, while talking about the struggles these people overlooked from the society had to go through, Larson puts in themes such as friendship, love, and hope. These themes were the factors that made me realize once more why RENT is still loved by thousands of people around the world. Also, reflecting the rough current situation with COVID-19, the actors on stage singing about the importance of close ones and loving them made me tear up once more.

The current production of RENT in South Korea has Oh Jong-Hyuk and Jang Ji-Hoo portraying Roger, Kim Soo-Ha and Ivy playing Mimi, and Jung Won-Young and Bae Doo-Hoon playing Mark. The role of Collins, a gay philosophy professor with AIDS is played by Choi Jae-Rim and Yoo Ho-Jin. Angel, a drag queen and a street art performer are played by Kim Ho-Young and Kim Ji-Hui. Maureen, a bisexual performance artist is portrayed by Min Kyung-Ah and Jeon Na Young. Joanne, Maureen's lover and a lawyer, is portrayed by Jung Da-Hee. Benny, the landlord of Mark, Roger, and Mimi's apartment is played by Lim Jung-Mo.

BWW Review: Celebrating 20 years in Korea, RENT at D Cube Art Center

I have only seen RENT through the movie and Rent: Live broadcasted by Fox, so it was my first time seeing RENT in the theatre. I was surprised by the energy that this musical carried and gave to the audience. I was also amazed during the iconic "La Vie Bohème" scene, the last number of the first act. How this number started so quietly but playfully and turned the whole scene into a burst of power that would show the freedom of the artists and the intimate friendship between the characters was so delightful and engaging. The direction of Andy Senor Jr. in this scene was so lively and energetic that this scene turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the show.

The outlying theme of love, friendship, and hope was also a part of the show that made me think more about how I should be thinking about my life. When the emblematic line, 'No day but today' was sung in the show, I was thinking about the passion in my life that I thought I had stopped thinking about. It was mesmerizing to see how the characters had matured through the year RENT observes, and the mourning to the changes the characters showed in the show.

RENT will be singing friendship, love, and hope in South Korea until August 23rd, 2020 at D Cube Art Center. Tickets start at 60,000 KRW and they can be bought online or at the ticket box. Make sure to check the casting schedule before buying tickets since the casting schedule changes every day. For more information, please visit http://www.globalinterpark.com/.

RENT at D Cube Art Center

Photo and Video Credit: Seensee Company


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