I had never seen the musical production of Rent until this past weekend, but I fell in love with the film when it came out in 2005. The plot takes place in the East Village of New York. It shows a group of "bohemians" that face a variety of struggles, such as paying rent, living in poverty, using drugs, and facing illness through the AIDS epidemic.
My first experience with Kids Acting Against Cancer was their production of Spring Awakening. When I heard that they were performing Rent, I was very eager to get my hands on tickets so I could attend. The group is now known as Acting Against Cancer, and I have to say that their production of Rent is a must-see!
The performance takes place at the Tim Faulkner Gallery on Portland Avenue. It is an industrial space that is perfect for the location of this musical. The cast includes Remy Sisk as Roger Davis, Charlie Meredith as Mark Cohen, Aaron Roitman as Tom Collins, Joseph Harlan as Benjamin Coffin III, Jasmine Young as Joanne Jefferson, Austin Murphy as Angel Dumot Schunard, McKenna Poe as Mimi Marquez, and Abby Helm as Maureen Johnson. Other cast members include Kelsey Cox, Charity Means, Mallory Taylor, Marie Kallis, Shyama Iyer, Katherine Glaser, and Moira Taylor.
One of my favorite songs from the musical is "Rent." Remy and Charlie moved across the stage with the passion of Roger and Mark. The other cast members utilized the set and sang along with the duo. I have to say that, in comparison to the film, I feel like Remy and Charlie have very similar vocals to Roger and Mark. This was definitely the performance that had me singing along.
"Light My Candle" is another big song in the musical because it officially introduces Roger to Mimi. I think Remy and McKenna have fantastic chemistry for their romantic roles, and this much has been evident since Spring Awakening. I was looking forward to seeing McKenna as Mimi. She had to represent a character that has a drug addiction and a lot of sexuality, and I think she handled those traits of her character very well.
Aaron, Charlie, Remy, and Austin teamed up for the song "Today 4 U." Angel is definitely a favorite character of mine in Rent. She has a good soul and heart, so much sass, and she can certainly walk better in a pair of heels than I ever could. Austin Murphy definitely brought Angel to life on stage. He danced around in a pair of heels and rocked the Santa suit jacket flawlessly. I found out that he only wore the heels for practice for a couple of days before he was running around in them. Perhaps he could teach me his ways because I always manage to trip.
Charlie and Jasmine were the perfect duo for Mark and Joanne during "Tango: Maureen." The argument over Maureen, the song and dance, and the hostility between the two characters was spot on.
McKenna sported teal high-waisted pants and leather knee-high heeled boots for "Out Tonight." She used the stage and climbed the steps of some scaffolding for her striptease at the Cat Scratch Club. She pulled her hair down and a waterfall of glitter cascaded on the ground below. It was so unexpected, but a nice surprise to the performance.
Aaron and Austin sang the sweetest duet as Tom and Angel in "I'll Cover You." They had wonderful chemistry, and they stole my heart with their rendition of this love song.
Jasmine and Abigail sang my favorite song, "Take Me or Leave Me", effortlessly. The vocals are very intense in that song, but these two women were the perfect pair for Joanne and Maureen. I believe this song was my favorite part of the entire musical. These ladies were just incredible.
As I mentioned above, Rent is a film that I love, and I am so happy that I got to see it as a musical from the great cast of Acting Against Cancer. I might just go see it again! Tickets are $18, and other dates for the show are Friday, June 13 at 8 PM; Saturday, June 14 at 8 PM; and Sunday, June 15 at 2 PM. It is a show that should not be missed, and 100% of the profits are given to the treatment and research of pediatric cancer! You can buy tickets here.
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