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Theater Review: 20th anniversary tour of ‘Rent’ isn’t as grand as you’d think

by Matt Roseboom

By Quinn Roseboom

It’s been 20 years since the debut of “Rent”, and it’s out on tour for the anniversary. Most everyone has at least heard the show’s iconic anthem “Seasons of Love”, even if they haven’t seen the movie or another production of “Rent”. And if you have heard of it, you may not know the plot. Depending on the performance, you may still be a bit confused even after you’ve seen it. Unfortunately that was the case with this particular cast.

Rent is a show filled with powerful emotions and songs, but this cast didn’t make me feel the things I’m supposed to by the end of the night. The characters didn’t seem as distraught as they should after the events they experienced, and the “powerful” songs proved to be too much for the performers that sang them. If you haven’t seen “Rent” before in any capacity, I would recommend watching the movie before seeing this particular production.

“Rent” itself isn’t for everyone, with its serious subject matter and adult situations, it can be a difficult pill to swallow. When you bring the AIDS Crisis and drug abuse from the ’90’s to the stage, not everyone is going to want to watch the events unfold. Despite the love stories, this show isn’t meant for children, unless you want to expose them to the story of the lives of people who lived with the aforementioned drugs and disease. Parental guidance is definitely encouraged, you don’t want to be explaining to your kids what “blow” is during intermission.

The show is typically known for its phenomenal LGBT representation, even so, multiple groups of unaware bigoted theatergoers got up and left at the first sign of same-sex attraction. If you are one of the bigoted people who would leave as well, then this show (and review) is not for you. As a member of the LGBT community it’s always refreshing to see gay love stories onstage. Broadway needs more happy LGBT couples, especially with its core members being part of the community.

“Rent” is at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando through June 10.

RENT | June 5 - 10, 2018

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1 comment

Denise June 9, 2018 - 2:53 pm

We saw this touring production last year and you are spot on. It was lackluster at best. After seeing it 15 or so years ago, this was disappointing.

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