Review: RENT 20th Anniversary Tour - Segerstrom Center January 6-8, 2017

This post is written by Amy Walton. Amy attended a media preview. 

The award-winning musical production of RENT is on its 20th Anniversary Tour and has returned to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for this weekend only, January 6 – 8, 2017! The original rock musical, created by a little-known composer opened on Broadway in 1996, and two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven young bohemians following their dreams, while struggling to survive addiction, discrimination, and poverty in the AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s. It is an emotional, exciting and eclectic show of timeless themes and inspirational songs. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters — Love.

This musical captures audience attention, drawing you in from beginning to end. Upon first entering the theater, the simple, yet interesting, industrial set catches the eye right away, and it continued to engage as the show began.  The band is right on stage with the actors, instead of in the orchestra pit, which created an intimate and exciting feel.  The way the same tables, chairs, and scaffolding seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor scenes is so clever. A paper lantern hung high in the air serves as a visually engaging cue: shining bright as the sun or dimming for the moon to set the scene for outdoors, and fading completely for indoor scenes. The sense of community that is created from the layout and staging is very evident and sets the tone for the show. Amazing harmonies and dance sections are successful in part because the actors rarely leave the stage throughout the show. Characters remain posed in the shadows onstage during other scenes to further this sense of community street life, which lends itself to allow some amazing musical numbers, with the band and all the singers on stage throughout the show.

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour - David Merino - Photo by Carol Rosegg, 2016
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour - David Merino - Photo by Carol Rosegg, 2016

Kaleb Wells, who plays the troubled rock singer lead character Roger Davis, has an incredibly powerful voice and presence, captivating the audience in all his songs, including “One Song Glory” and “Another Day”.  Another cast member, Aaron Harrington, playing the role of Tom Collins, elevates the vocals to another level – his range is unbelievable. Then, of course, Mimi, played by Skyler Volpe, is the perfect combination of sassy, and tough, youthful, sweet, and seductive.  Her performances in “Light my Candle” and “Out Tonight” were so emotional; the audience could feel her pain and the depth of the character in her singing. If you can catch this anniversary tour of RENT in Costa Mesa this weekend, it is an absolute must-see.  We were so glad to see it back in Orange County! For more information, please visit: http://rentontour.net.

~Amy

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A review by Amy Walton. Amy has lived in Orange County for over 12 years and loves to blog about new recipes, craft projects, and random musings over at SoTherebyAmy.com. Be yourself; everyone else is taken.

 

RENT 20th ANNIVERSARY TOUR

January 6 – 8, 2017

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA
(714) 556-2787
www.scfta.org

TICKETS START AT $29

PERFORMANCES

  • Friday at 7:30 p.m. 
  • Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 
  • Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

*Note: The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, January 7, 2017 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.

Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign will restage this 20th anniversary tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, RENT) will serve as choreographer. The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include Cinderella, MAMMA MIA!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Vocalosity and Crazy For You.