Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, Mian Dimacali as Maureen Johnson, and Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson in Rent, which will have a limited run of eight performances at the Power Plant Cinema 2 starting Dec. 8| Zoom
If there’s one musical that perfectly captures the angst and essence of our generation, it’s probably Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, Rent — a Tony and Pulitzer award-winning neo-contemporary masterpiece based on Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme. The show, which opened in Broadway back in 1996 and holds the record of being the ninth-longest-running show on Broadway before closing in 2008, tells the story of young bohemians struggling to survive in the Lower East Side boroughs of Alphabet City during the rise of a mysterious virus known as AIDS. The show is also responsible for popularizing the hit song Seasons of Love, which is sung by the entire cast during the opening of Act 2.
There is probably no man on earth who hasn’t heard of the popular jukebox tune. A permanent fixture on commercial sound systems and radio stations during the Holiday season,Seasons of Love is also a fail-safe go-to for most Valentine’s concerts and even during weddings (I recently attended one that played it during the processional). I mean, how can you not fall in love or get all fuzzy with a song that counts the many ways in which a person can measure a year in his or her life? “In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee,” the means are endless. But for Roger, Mimi, Maureen, Angel, Collins, and the bohemians of Alphabet City, audiences come to realize just this — in a year lambasted with poverty, adversity, disease, and existentialist struggle entangled with an artist’s plight for self-actualization, every minute counts.
525,600 minutes — Jonathan Larson conceptualized the powerful numeric that follows after the momentous opening beats of Seasons of Love, subsequently giving rise to the many pillars through which musical theater stands today. As we’ve mentioned, there’s Seasons of Love that strikes a chord in the hearts of young and old alike, not to mention the many other songs that comprise the powerful score that Larson created right before his untimely death on the day that Rent officially opened in the Great White Way.
Sheree Bautista plays Mimi Marquez
Also, the show, through its powerful message of love and “No Day But Today,” was able to shed light on such issues as AIDS, HIV, and homosexuality – matters that were once seen as taboo to the general populace. Rent also popularized “The Lottery” system, an avenue through which financially challenged theatergoers are able to afford premium tickets to go see a play on Broadway as Larson himself had dealt with financial struggle while serving as a waiter at the Moondance Diner.
Furthermore, the show was able to jumpstart the careers of Adam Pascal, Taye Diggs, and Idina Menzel who played Roger, Benny, and Maureen respectively in the original cast. Menzel would eventually play Elphaba in the hit Broadway show, Wicked and Rachel Berry’s mom in Glee.
Overall, the show’s greatest contribution to Broadway was that it was able to rehash and redefine the rules of musical theater through its rock-operatic score — eventually enabling such musicals as Spring Awakening, Next to Normal and American Idiot to conquer the Great White Way.
For the holiday season, 9 Works Theatrical and Power Plant Cinema proudly bring back “the musical that changed the face of Broadway forever,” Rent which had sold-out performances last February at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC. Due to insistent public demand, Rent is back for a limited run at the Power Plant Cinema 2.
Robbie Guevara directs 9 Works Theatrical and Power Plant Cinema’s Rent.
Returning to the show is Gian Magdangal as Roger Davis who will be sharing the stage this time around with real-life girlfriend Sheree Bautista as Mimi Marquez. Sheree, a former member of the Viva Hot Babes, will be alternating with stage veteran Amparo Sietereales who played the role of Mimi many years back in a previous staging of Rent. Also returning to the show are Fredison Lo as Mark Cohen, OJ Mariano as Tom Collins, AJ Bautista as Angel, Jenny Villegas as Joanne Jefferson, and Mark Tayag, Gary Junsay, Johann dela Fuente, Harold Cruz, and Peachy Atilano as part of the ensemble.
For the December run, they will be joined by Mian Dimacali who bravely tackles the role of Maureen Johnson, Lorenz Martinez as Benny, Sab Jose as Alexi Darling, and Pam Imperial as the Homeless Lady who sings the powerful high note in Seasons of Love.
The show is directed by Robbie Guevara, with musical direction by Onyl Torres and Ricky Villante, set design by Mio Infante, lights design by Martin Esteva, sound design by Chuck Ledesma, costume styling by Bek Soriano, and additional choreography by Francis Matheu.
Rent will have a limited run of eight performances at the Power Plant Cinema 2, Dec. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (8 p.m.), and Dec. 10, 11, and 12 (4 p.m.). Get your tickets now at the Power Plant Cinema ticket booth. For tickets, call 898-1440 or 898-1441, or 0908-8692988.
Rent is brought to you by Rockwell Land, Rockwell Club, Power Plant Mall, Metro Society, Velvet Channel, and Basement Salon, and is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI), 421 West 54th Street, New York, New York 10019 – tel: (212) 541 4684www.mtishows.com.