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The Prospector

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RENT: a story of love and hope made its way to El Paso

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Special to The Prospector

A crowd of people waited outside in the cold to enter the Plaza Theater Tuesday night to watch the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent.” The musical made its way to El Paso as a part of their 20th-anniversary tour.

 

Written by Johnathan Larson, the musical is loosely based on the Italian opera “La Boheme” written by Giacomo Puccini.

 

The story revolves around a group of friends living in New York City from 1989 to 1990 who are facing different economic, physical and emotional challenges.

 

Larson passed away in 1996 before the musical ever premiered on Broadway, little did he know what an impact his show would make on audiences from around the world.

 

The story starts off with Mark (Sammy Ferber), an aspiring filmmaker and his HIV-positive roommate Rodger (Kaleb Wells) who refuse to pay rent after their former roommate Benny (Marcus John), whose father-in-law recently bought the building, promised not to charge them.

 

Other characters introduced are Collins (Devinré Adams), a professor, Angel (Aaron Alcaraz), a drag queen who is slowing dying from AIDS, Mimi (Skyler Volpe), a dancer, Maureen (Lyndie Moe) an actor and Marl’s ex-girlfriend, and a Joanne (Jasmine Easler), Maureen’s girlfriend and Harvard graduate.

As soon as the lights dimmed, the audience was electric and began to cheer. I have never seen Rent before on stage or on film, but I knew from the moment that it started it would be different from any other musical I had ever seen.

 

The overall cast was small but powerful. Each member of the cast including members of the ensemble had amazing voices. There is a lot of jumping around and chaotic choreography in the show and everyone managed to stay on key and sing at the top of their lungs.

 

The crowd went wild during Angel’s, Mimi’s and Maureen’s dance numbers. Their performance stood out the most throughout the show. While this musical isn’t a comedy, Alcaraz and Moe had a powerful comedic timing. Alcaraz dressed in drag and danced and even jumped on top of the tables on stage while wearing heels. Moe used a lot of physical comedy during the show at the point of showing her butt on stage. Volpe’s performance was tear-wrenching and emotional especially during the songs, “ I Should Tell You” and Goodbye Love.”

 

During the show, I caught myself and others singing along to the words of “Seasons of Love.” The classic words to the song start off “525,600 minutes.” The crowd erupted in applause and cheers when the company finished the song at the beginning of the act.

 

Regardless if you’re a member of the LGBT community, or are HIV-positive, or have experienced the loss of friend or family member, are facing financial problems, this show will be sure to resonate with you.

 

The show provides a message of love and hope. No matter how scared we are, we must love and live in the present.

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss…no day but today.”

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RENT: a story of love and hope made its way to El Paso