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BWW Review: RENT at D Cube Art Center, 'No Day but Today'

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BWW Review: RENT at D Cube Art Center, 'No Day but Today'

There is no doubt that New York City is a central place for theatrical productions, with over 40 theatres on Broadway, each year new productions are created and greets audience members. However, despite the long history of Broadway and the several hundred shows that opened in New York City, there is one show that I feel represents the core of the Big Apple more than any other. A musical that is loved among people all over the world and continuously reproduced, a show that tells the story of the people who still lived despite all the hardships, which goes by the name, RENT. After a seven-year intermission, RENT greeted the long-awaited audience of Korea on June 13th.

Jonathan Larson, the creator of RENT, was not only a genius composer and playwright, but he also was a voice who actively explored and expressed social issues such as homophobia and drug addiction in his works. Suffering from an aortic dissection, Jonathan Larson died at the age of 35, on the day before RENT's first Off-Broadway preview. Though he, unfortunately, was not able to see his masterpiece dazzle audiences all over the world and young generations of theatre lovers perform their productions of RENT, he left an important legacy in theatre that will be cherished for long.

RENT starts on Christmas Eve, where roommates and friends, Mark and Roger, struggle to keep themselves warm while trying to produce their art pieces. In comes Tom Collins, a friend of Mark and Roger, who is a professor of computer-age philosophy. He gets mugged on his way to the apartment and meets Angel, a talented street drummer. Later, Roger sits in his apartment alone, working on his song, when his neighbor, Mimi, shows up asking to light her candle. Meanwhile, Mark goes over to his ex-girlfriend, Maureen's performing venue, and meets Joanne, Maureen's current lover. Like this, the six main characters of RENT meet and bond, creating a friendship that becomes inseparable despite the up and downs. With the representation of the struggles and reality of young New Yorkers, RENT tells a valuable story on friendship, love, illness, death, and life, reminding the audience what it means to live.

RENT is tightly packed with 42 songs based on a rock rhythm and a strong narrative that really shows what it's like to be living in New York City with a dream of creating a masterpiece when time is ticking. The character, Mark, plays the role of being the observer and narrator, capturing the moments of not only the city but especially the memories with his HIV positive friends, as they try to enjoy the given time they have. What is remarkable of RENT is that it is very realistic in the ways they show drug addiction, dealing with AIDS, and the conflict between security and one's dreams. For this reason, RENT is still loved and performed all over the world even though it has been over 20 years since its first performance.

July 5th marks the 20th anniversary of Korea's RENT productions. To celebrate this, the cast from previous RENT productions will join the current cast for a special performance. RENT is performing at D Cube Art Center till August 23rd. Tickets start at 60,000 KRW and can be purchased at the ticket box or online. Do not miss the opportunity to watch this incredible show.

Also, do not forget to fill out the self-health checklist before entering the theater and to wear a mask during the entire show. Following the rules would lead to a healthier environment for both the audience and the performers.

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From This Author Jimin Lee