Julia Mason is the Marketing Manager for The Buccini/Pollin Group. Her additional passions include her website, positivelyglamorous.com, making homemade ice cream and the great outdoors.
Rent 20th Anniversary Tour by Jonathan Larson at The Playhouse on Rodney Square is the revival of Larson's 1996 Broadway landmark that encompasses social issues and unveils the dark realities individuals face through powerful music and dance. Although a serious premise, the audience will definitely experience a few chuckles throughout the thought-provoking musical.
The production opens up with Benny — Mark and Roger’s previous roommate — purchasing the building in which the two, along with a unique group of close-knit homeless people, reside. Benny secured funding for the building from his wealthy father-in-law, to fuel his desire is to build a high-tech cyber-arts studio on the property.
Benny’s first step toward his goal is ensuring everything goes smoothly, but the residents are not about to leave without a fight. Maureen, Mark's former girlfriend, is happy to be in charge of the protest. Benny offers a deal to Mark and Roger: Stop the protest and they can remain rent-free. However, things do no go as planned, and chaos erupts (which Mark videotapes). From there, everyone is locked out of the place they once called home.
I should note that this was my very first time seeing Rent, and I’m so grateful I was able to experience it at the historical Playhouse on Rodney Square. Throughout the performance, what stood out most to me (besides the powerful music) was the stage décor and the lighting; it really brought the musical to life and was much more interactive than plays I have seen in the past.
My favorite character by far was Angel, played by David Merino. His voice, energy and dance skills were incredible, and you could feel is love for the character radiating throughout his performance. A newcomer to the theatre scene, Aaron Harrington, who played Tom Collins, has a deep, beautiful voice that also stood out among the extremely talented cast.
Overall, the play was wonderful, and it engulfed the audience, getting them to interact a few times. The person that joined me (who chooses to remain anonymous) even became unusually teary-eyed!