Measured in Love

I have been waiting 2,628,000 minutes to see Rent. It was so worth the wait and exceeded my expectations. So today I will be reviewing Rent and waiting five years was worth it and I needed it yesterday.

So what is Rent about? Rent is about a group of friends and their life in a year in the midst of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. You have filmmaker and narrator Mark, HIV positive and musician Roger, HIV positive and dancer Mimi, HIV positive Collins, HIV positive and compassionate Angel, crazy and performance artist Maureen, lawyer Joanne and landlord Benny. There are three couples in this musical, who are Roger and Mimi, Collins and Angel and Maureen and Joanne. They discover throughout the musical that you should measure your lives in love and live in the moment. There is so much fear, uncertainty, but also a lot of love because the relationship between this friends is like a family.

In this cast, I had Kaleb Wells as Roger, Sammy Ferber as Mark, Aaron Harrington as Collins, Marcus John as Benny, Jasmine Easler as Joanne, Aaron Alcaraz as Angel, Skyler Volpe as Mimi and Lyndie Moe as Maureen. I did not have a single understudy last night.

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I found the entire cast to be amazing including the ensemble. Kaleb Wells played a wonderful Roger. Throughout “One Song Glory”, I could feel the heartbreaking nature of the song and this was the first time I got emotional during the song. I could see his unwillingness to enter into a relationship with Mimi despite the fact that he loves her. “Your Eyes” is a song that I always get emotional during, but still he portrayed that song incredibly.

Sammy Ferber really brought out the narrator side of Mark. I started to believe in him when he began the show. It makes sense that Mark is the narrator because he is a filmmaker. He is Roger’s best friend

Skyler Volpe played a good Mimi. She made a good match to Kaleb Well’s Roger. Throughout “Light My Candle”, I could tell they felt an attachment to each other. “I Should Tell” made me emotional and usually during love duets, I usually don’t get that emotional, but that song did. Throughout Roger and Mimi’s relationship, you can easily see their fighting and the anger throughout those as well. Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple even though they fight a lot, but you see Mimi so badly wanting to enter a relationship with Roger and who wants to live in the moment.  “Without You” is another one of those emotional moments and I did feel the emotion as well.

Aaron Alacaraz played a very sweet and energetic Angel. “Today For You” was the most energetic moment of his performance. He was a nice match to Aaron Harrington’s Collins. They are the only couple where there is no fighting. Because they both know they each have HIV, they live in the moment. Collins looks after Angel when Angel is dying of AIDS so they have a lovely relationship with each and their portrayals of the characters really shows.

Lyndie Moe was incredible as Maureen. I always knew Maureen was quite crazy. Lyndie Moe was able to bring out her crazy side but also brought out her sweet side because Maureen is both but mainly crazy. Her “Over the Moon” performance was quite hilarious and crazy, which is perfect for Maureen. I feel like Maureen and Joanne fight the most when it comes to their relationship especially because Maureen is always flirting with other guys.

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Jasmine Easler really made you feel how annoyed she can get when it comes to Maureen. Throughout “Tango Maureen”, Joanne and Mark talk about how Maureen can drive them nuts.

This entire group of friends is wonderful. During “Goodbye Love”, you could really feel it. They spent a lot of the song being angry with each other. This all happened soon after Angel died. But they eventually come to the conclusion that the best life to live is one filled with love.

Marcus John played Benny, one of my least favorite characters. I wish I could say some things about him, but I can’t seem to. Benny is their landlord and marries for money even though he eventually warms up and begins to rejoin the group of friends.

As for the small ensemble, they were wonderful. Each of the life support meetings got me emotional especially during “Will I”, which is quite a powerful song got me emotional and the song is only three lines repeated over and over with some overlap. Even the opening song, “Rent”, got me somewhat emotional. The two soloists in “Seasons of Love” were incredible. Rent is such a meaningful musical to me and glad I finally got to see it live. The finale of the show is one of the best ways to end a musical.

As for my seats, I had such a wonderful set. You could see the entire set and that was perfect and we were near the center of the Mezzanine. I loved the set. I have seen the final Broadway cast film, but never noticed there was an actual moon in the set. You can easily tell it starts on Christmas Eve because eventually this thing of junk lights up with Christmas light and later you can see it beginning to snow.  It looks like the East Village. You can actually see Mark’s video that he made during the second act.

I knew coming in I would be an emotional wreck, but wasn’t expecting to be as emotional as I got. Rent is a sad musical, but at the same time inspiring because it teaches you about the preciousness of life and why it is important to live in love and in the moment. At the time period that Rent takes place, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty because if you end up with HIV, it was basically a death sentence and they all measure their lives in love. No Day But Today.

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My Journey With Rent

One of the meaningful musicals of my life is Rent. Rent is based off of the opera, La Bohème, and written by Johnston Larson who tragically died the night before previews. It takes places during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is dealing with characters from the LGBT community and features a drug addict so Rent is a very adult and mature musical, but its message is so universal.

I first fell in love with it in Fall of 2012. I was listening to the songs through Pandora and I fell in love with them without knowing the plot. At that point, I had not clue I was falling in love with a sad musical. Ever since 2012, I honestly hoped to see the stage show someday despite not knowing the plot. It is crazy falling in love with a musical through songs alone, and I already found it becoming meaningful without knowing anything about the plot.

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The following year I finally got around to seeing some version of Rent. In 2008, Rent did a special version of the Broadway production. They put together a film of the final Broadway cast. The musical consists of filmmaker Mark, HIV positive and musician Roger, HIV positive and dancer Mimi, drag queen, gay and HIV positive Angel, gay and HIV positive Collins, bisexual and performance artist Maureen, lesbian and lawyer Joanne and landlord Benny. Mimi and Roger are a couple, Angel and Collins are a couple and Maureen and Joanne are a couple. Mark is the narrater of the musical.

It actually was a really well done cast. They captured the family of the friends really well. The emotion of Rent was brought out nicely and so was the overall message.

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Possible Spoilers:

I have two emotional connections to the musical. One emotional connection I have is found among the relationship between the family found among between all the friends and despite relationship struggles between Mimi and Roger and Maureen and Joanne, the friends still remain a strong family. My other emotional connection is very personal, but I feel like in some way I can relate to some of the struggles some of the characters have. When Angel died, it seemed as if the family would fall apart, but it never did.

The message of this overall message is what to do with the life that you have. It teaches about the preciousness of life. It teaches you to measure your life in love and live in the moment. No Day But Today. Rent it truly inspiring and celebrates life and teaches you the beauty of life. The message is one of the biggest reasons why Rent is meaningful to me.

Les Mis and Rent are the only two meaningful sad musicals of my life. They both go beyond their sadness. They both are quite powerful with wonderful messages. Rent was the first sad musical I feel in love with, but I didn’t know it was sad until after I had already seen the Les Mis movie. Rent is not quite as sad as Les Mis is, but Rent is still sad.

In September, I will be seeing the musical live for the first time.

Do you love Rent? If so, why do you love the musical?

 

Memorable Musical Relationships That Are Not Romantic Part 2

Just two days ago, I blogged about memorable musical relationships that are not romantic. Just yesterday I realized I left an important relationship out of the list. I forgot to mention the relationship among the characters in Rent.

The characters in Rent are Maureen, Joanne, Mimi, Roger, Collins, Angel, Mark and Benny. The show mainly revolves around the first seven on this list. These characters are quite wide-ranging and a lot of them are artists. Mimi, Roger, Collins, and Angel all have HIV. Some of these characters are in the LGBT community. Rent is mainly about these character lives in the span of a year. You have filmmaker and narrator Mark, musician Roger, dancer and drug addict Mimi, performance artist Maureen, professor Collins and lawyer Joanne. These characters measure their lives in love and live in the moment. Considering the fact that some have HIV, that one is a drug addict, and that some are part of the LGBT community, I feel like Rent teaches you the value of acceptance.

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These characters are memorable because their relationship is close. They show you just how precious life is. Considering the fact that four of them have HIV, they make the most of every moment. Benny throughout most of the show treats them unfairly, but by the end of it, he realizes just how important friendship is. He is essentially part of this group of friends. He was once living with Mark, Roger, and Collins. Out of all these characters, my favorites are Mimi and Roger.

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