“Rent” Dazzles

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“Rent” Dazzles

By Sidney Hines

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LqhLgKecEk&t=1s[/youtube]

As soon as I walked through the doors of the auditorium, I was instantly drawn to the posters hanging on the walls. These allowed the audience to be transported to an apartment complex in Manhattan, while also bringing about an awareness on a major topic in the show — AIDS. Right from the start, the musical gave me an insight on the lives of the main characters: lives full of loss, hope, love, and of course, rent.

Niles West Theatre’s spring production, “Rent,” is a musical that tells the story of a group of friends, all struggling to pay their rent. On top of this, the friends are constantly battling through being HIV-positive or having AIDS.

Upon hearing that the Niles West Theatre was going to be performing “Rent,” I was excited. I had watched the movie and had always wanted to see the musical live. The school edition of “Rent,” in my opinion, was great. The actors and actresses all portrayed their characters as if they had battled through the obstacles that their character had. My favorite song of the musical is titled “Without You,” and as the characters sang it, you were able to witness the different meanings that the song had behind it. This song really elicited an emotional response from the crowd because everyone has experienced loss at some point in their life.

The cast not only displayed the acting abilities of students here at West, but also showcased a large range of vocals. As they sang the songs and acted out the scenes, the musical came alive, making me feel as if I was actually watching the lives of the characters. Two of the main characters, Mimi and Roger, portrayed by juniors Tricia Pabst and Anthony Saldana, had a dysfunctional relationship, all fueled by their love for one another. As the musical progresses, I was drawn away from their relationship, and became entranced with how all the relationships and friendships in the musical connected to one another. Each character had a significant role in another’s life, whether it was the new girlfriend of a previous ex-girlfriend, a drag queen that brought joy and love into all those around, or an old friend turned into an enemy.

One scene that really stuck with me was the funeral scene, in which they all sang “Seasons Of Love” and “I’ll Cover You” as Angel, brought to life by senior Jimbo Pestano, walks off the stage, as if leaving them behind and moving on to the after-life. This scene was very emotional because everyone can relate to a losing someone, and the actors’ performance of this scene was very well done. Just watching them mourn over someone who meant a lot to them drew out emotions from within myself and the rest of the audience.

Overall, the Niles West Theatre continues to blow me away. Without a doubt, I, as well as others, cannot wait to see what else these aspiring actors and actresses have in store for us in the future.