Crescent Players present opening night performance of “RENT”

Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

“The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.” And for a musical about protest, artistry, love and death, it delivers on all accounts. This past Friday night was the opening night for the first musical of the year, “RENT.”

The production, presented by the Crescent Players, bears a strong sense of the Broadway version, in regards to its mature content and set design.

Set in New York City in the late 80s, the story of “RENT” follows roommates and aspiring artists Mark played by Brandon Brush and Roger played by Eric Macfarlane. The cast also includes an ensemble students playing struggling artists over the course of a year, trying to survive hardship and loss while living under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

This story is told through a wide range of songs. There are the slower, more emotional songs, like “I Should Tell You,” a recurring duet between Roger and Mimi played by Tina Valente about whether they should tell the other about their “baggage” (Roger’s AIDS and Mimi’s addiction).

There are also the upbeat numbers, like “La Vie Boheme,” which had the whole audience in an uproar at its completion.

Despite a serious and mature story, there are also humourous moments. During the song, “Over the Moon,” where Maureen played by Marcelle Morrisey, the audience was actually mooing for her.

The actors themselves were an excellent mix, and the chemistry seen on stage between characters like Angel played by Teddy Hall and his lover, the anarchistic professor Tom Collins played by Eric Rutter was completely believable and heart-wrenching. All of the actors, as stated by cast member and sophomore Eric Clinton, were bringing their best to the opening show.

“The show went great. I mean, all of us brought our A-game and we all were so filled with energy and fired up, we just put it all out there,” said Clinton. “The enthusiasm everyone had, the effort we all put in, it all paid off.”

Clinton mentioned that the members of the musical had worked hard since the beginning of September to put together the show.

When it comes to the set pieces, lighting and sound, there was barely a misstep seen or heard. The head of the lighting crew and light board operator for the musical, sophomore Katie Brown, was glad to see all of the crew’s hard work finally result in the final product.

“We have spent so long on this, putting everything together, that it’s a huge relief to just start running the shows,” said Brown. “It’s amazing honestly, seeing the final product and I’m so proud of the actors and our whole crew who’s worked so hard for this.”

The musical ended with a standing ovation from audience members, and following the performance, sophomore Sebastian Genovese, who saw “RENT” for the first time ever at the opening night, was left amazed at the performance.

“It was utterly incredible. The level of talent I saw in the actors blew me away and you could tell when watching them how much they were putting into the show,” said Genovese. “Also I had no idea how mature of a musical this was. I mean, it shocked me at first but it was such a beautiful production.”

The production of “RENT” will be continuing with an evening and midnight show, and the following weekend with shows from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon in the Lyman Center. It is free for Southern students.

Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor

PHOTO: Brandon Brush playing Mark and Eric Mcfarlane as Roger


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