Rent: I didn’t buy it

This is the poster for Renegade Productions mounting of the rock musical Rent.

Rent is a difficult musical. Renegade Productions’ mounting shows just how difficult.

This Renegade Arts mounting of Rent gets so much so wrong. There are talented people in the cast, and some elements of the show work, but fundamental errors undermine the production.

A rock musical, Rent features a group of young-adult friends who are living in New York’s Alphabet City in the late 80s or early 90s. An aspiring filmmaker named Mark, who keeps shooting footage of his pals, acts as the narrator. Mark lives in an illegal loft with Roger, a musician who has been sideswiped by HIV. Early on, Mark meets an exotic dancer named Mimi who is also living with the virus. Altogether, four of the seven main characters are infected. The other two are Collins, who is a philosophy professor, and Collins’s drag-queen partner, Angel. A lesbian couple—lawyer Joanne and performance artist Maureen, who used to be Mark’s girlfriend—rounds out the group. [Read more…]