Rent recently marked its 24th anniversary since its Broadway opening. Every year I try to write something. This year, in particular, it seemed important to.
And so here it is… my top 10 musicals of the decade. It turned out to be a slightly emotional journey. But it turns out musicals meant a lot in that time and I’ll fight anyone who says musicals aren’t a serious artform.
Before Jonathan Larson’s iconic musical Rent took the world by storm, there was the autobiographical show, Tick, Tick…Boom!
Youthful energy and intelligent direction burn brightly in this exhilarating new production of evergreen modern classic Rent in Melbourne.
Rent is a timeless story and this Vivo D’Arte production is well worth the trip to the Frogmore Paper Mill, Apsley to see it.
As I write this, the curtain is about to rise on the first major revival of Angels in America in nearly a decade, it’s the fastest selling show in the National Theatre’s history and it’s got a cast of stars (Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Russell Tovey) who frankly are making it a pretty big deal.
Full casting has been announced for the Park Theatre revival of tick, tick… BOOM!: the autobiographical rock musical detailing the journey that led to the late Jonathan Larson’s big break and Broadway blockbuster, Rent.
Sharp, powerful and moving, Jonathan Larson’s musical is still as relevant as ever as Bruce Gutherie’s heart wrenching production proves from beginning to end. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, RENT is brought to pulsating life once more in Brice Gutherie’s production.
St James Theatre, London
Music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Bruce Guthrie
The cast of Rent
This 20th anniversary production of Rent is a heart wrenching piece of theatre that beautifully touches on the key themes of love, loss, addiction and the fear of living as HIV positive. It is engaging, touching and thought provoking.
Performed countless times across the globe, Rent can often descend into a self-indulgent performers’ showcase. Bruce Guthrie’s take on the show however is heavy on integrity, with the director exploring the psyche of each character, making the performances both believable and relatable. Alongside, Lee Proud’s mesmerizing choreography fits perfectly with both style and era.
Amidst a stark and rough scaffolding-based set and with the full orchestra on display, Anna Fleischle’s designs create an edgy feel that is aesthetically challenging, leaving one to focus on the drama.
Mark Cohen as played by Billy Cullen is beautifully watchable, embodying his character’s drive to succeed in his work but also constantly sending out the signals of his desperate need to be accepted by his friends. Ross Hunter’s silky, effortless vocals as Rodger Davies are a joy. His performance engages throughout, convincing in the chemistry that sparkles between him and Philippa Stefani’s Mimi. Stefani may have just transferred over from In the Heights but here she’s a completely different woman, displaying a stunning depth and emotional range. Her unravelling on stage is almost elegant, depicting her character’s agonising flaws as she struggles with her addiction and its dangers.
Lucie Jones’ Maureen is an unconventional gem. Her cooky, charismatic and confident charm is so suited to the character that she doesn’t struggle once to deliver on Maureen’s obvious sexuality and allure. As always, Take Me Or Leave Me brings the house down with stunning vocals from both Jones and Shanay Holmes as Joanne. Their delivery is entirely narrative driven rather than just being the shouting match that the number can so often suggest, as they make the song an intimate and passionate breakdown of a relationship between two fiery women.
Now virtually sold out in London, the production is soon to tour and for both Rent-heads and newbies it’s a treat. The entire company are outstanding – vocally, choreographically and emotionally.
Reviewed by Charlotte DarcyRuns until 28th January 2017 – Then on tour. Tour details herePhoto credit: Johan Persson
When you think of the musical, Rent, written by Jonathan Larson, Seasons of Love springs to mind, immediately. However, the hard-hitting and modern-styled musical is packed with a range of musical numbers which are filled with angst, heart and impact.
After opening at Theatr Clwyd for a limited season from 21 October to 12 November 2016, RENT will go on a three-week tour, prior to a Christmas season at London’s St James Theatre from 8 December 2016 to 28 January 2017, with a national press night on Tuesday 13 December 2016. 2017 tour dates are to be announced. The new production will be directed by Bruce Guthrie.
The incredible lead performance from Luigi Lucente is just one reason to catch Pursued by Bear’s all too brief season of tick, tick…Boom!.
Jonathan Larson died tragically young, aged just 35. A writer who touched so many lives, it was an inspired idea that saw Katy Lipson and Guy James mark the twentieth anniversary of his passing by staging a concert to remember the man and his work. Seasons Of Larson was a journey back to “the end of the millennium” for an emotional rollercoaster of songs, chosen to represent Larson’s best.
The life and music of legendary Broadway composer Jonathan Larson will be celebrated in a special one-off concert on Monday 25 January 2016, when Seasons of Larson will play for one night only at the West End’s Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.