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 these 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.

Possible Spoilers:

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.

Love in the Face of Fear

Life is crazy. There are times where fear enters our lives and it can be traumatizing and even hard to cope with. It will take a while to heal from. Fear that is shown on television is way different than you experiencing it yourself when you were in close proximity to where the scary thing happened. But we should not fear control our lives, but instead it is important to show love in the face of fear. Showing love helps you heal from a scary event that happened in close proximity. It can feel better if you talk to people who you trust. You might feel unsafe at times. Love is stronger than fear. The devil wants you to live in fear rather than love, but through the grace of God, he allows us to overcome fear and experience love instead. Yes, these things happen and you just wish it never happened, but once it happens, it happens. If that particular community means something to you where something fearful and traumatizing happens, don’t forget the meaning of that place and not let that event make you forget the meaning of that place and don’t let it ruin your experience especially if it happened while you are at school or even in your neighborhood. So love conquers fear.

The Lord’s Steadfast Love

They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord

-Psalms 112:7

This is quite a wonderful piece of scripture. It is important to trust in Lord. When bad times strike, keep being loyal to the Lord. He will help you get through and accomplish so much. It is hard to not have fear when it comes to bad news. As a college student, I trust in the Lord, which helps me pull through. True, we live in a life of fear, but it is important to live according to the example that the Lord set for us. It is important to love others. The Lord will guide us in the right direction. There is hope even when a lot of fear is going on this world.

What does God want me to do?

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and heart and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments”

-Matthew 22:33-40

Is it possible to know everything about the bible and not truly love God?

That can happen. The Pharisees know everything about the bible, but yet they tend not to love God. All God really wants is for us to love him. We are God’s children. God wants us to become the church. The Holy Spirit is God and He lives inside us through our soul. If we love God, then our life would be more fulfilling. Love is greater then fear and is the key to fixing this broken society. Yes, it may be hard to love God at times, but if we trust in him, then He will guide us on a strong spiritual journey.

“Teach me your way, Lord that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name”

-Psalm 86:11

It makes no sense that we are called to passionately love God, but yet we must fear His name.What does fear have to do with love? We all know that love is greater then fear. It is the most complex and best human emotion. What does it really mean to fear God’s name?

Facing our Fears

Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear

-“Seize the Day”- Newsies

I was listening to “Seize the Day” yesterday from the musical, Newsies. Newsies is a musical that I learned to love two weeks ago when I saw the musical with my family. Newsies is a musical about the paper boy strike of 1899. In this story, it is about Jack Kelly and his group of Newsies who stand up to Pulitzer and Hearst when Pulitzer raises the price of the Newsies’ papers. To stand up, the boys go on strike. This musical is full of mind-blowing choreography, memorable characters, incredible songs, and an incredible set.

“Seize the Day” is the title song from the show. The quote above comes from that song. There is lot of truth in those lyrics and can easily relate to life. Facing our fears can be quite scary, but the Newsies’ stood up for what they believed in and were trying to protect their rights. It took great courage for these boys to stand up to two of the most powerful publishers of the time. Most of the Newsies are orphans and poor and have to live from the salary they gained from selling the newspapers.

Courage is very important in life. When we face our fears, it takes great courage. Everyone is braver then they think they are. Courage allows us to stay true to ourself and not let others influence who we are. When we face our fears, we are able to show a different side of us. Courage is one of our biggest strengths and that is one of the biggest keys to our development. I have a growing love for Newsies and is already becoming meaningful and am starting to understand why I have a strong emotional connection to it. As of right now, the songs are very addicting especially the ones that the Newsies sing.

What are your thoughts about courage?