The 20th anniversary tour has made its way to Detroit for 1 week only, and let me tell you, you will not want to miss it. I myself was unfamiliar with the premise and history of this play but had the privilege of attending opening night at the Fisher Theater, which is a stunning theater by the way.
I don’t want to reveal too much plot wise, in case anyone else is unfamiliar themselves, so I will keep this part brief. Rent follows the story of 2 struggling artists in NYC, one a film maker (Mark) and the other a musician (Rodger), and friends that help them along the way over the course of 1 year as they try to avoid being evicted by their landlord who also happens to be their former friend and roommate. It is a moving story of love, loss, life, death, and the roller coaster that is life in between.
Every single one of the performers did an outstanding job with both the acting and singing and each brought more than enough energy to the stage for the for the duration of the 2.5-hour performance. With that said a couple of them stood out even more to me than the others. First off was David Merino who plays Angel, a cross-dressing street performer. This was David’s professional debut and the life, energy, and talent he brings to the stage completely blew me away. There was never a dull moment when he was on stage. Had I not read the program afterword I would not have had any idea that this man was not a seasoned veteran of the stage.
My other favorite performance was by Kaleb Wells who plays Rodger Davis, the struggling musician. I thought his parts were very well acted and sung, plus since he is one of the main characters we get to hear more of him than some of the others throughout the night. Another thing I enjoyed about this character was that in certain lights/angles he very much reminded me of Daniel Radcliff in Woman in Black. I also had a few honorable mentions from the night as well: Katie Lamark (who plays Maureen) and Aaron Harrington (who plays Tom Collins). Katie was very much comedic relief and played the part amazingly well. Aaron of the other hand had an amazing baritone voice but unfortunately did not get to shine on his own too often.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the show but I did have a few small complaints by the end. One of which was with the mic’ing. For the most part it was very well done but there were some instances where I had issues understanding what was being said which made it hard for me to follow, as well as some instances when the entire cast was singing it was hard to understand exactly what they were singing. My other gripe was that the show seemed to drag a little towards the end. This is obviously no fault of the actors as this play has been around for 20 years, just my personal opinion. In the grand scheme of things those are 2 very, very small complaints and I highly recommend you go out and see this play, even if you’ve already seen it: my friend that attended with me was very familiar with Rent, has seen the play once before, has seen the movie, and greatly enjoys the music said it was even more enjoyable this time around.