RENT @ The Ritz

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

As a self proclaimed theatre kid growing up in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, I was no stranger to RENT. A musical by the late Jonathan Larson about a group of friends living in New York at the turn of the century dealing with a slew of money and health probelms. This story resonates with so many people which leads to the continued success of nearly every iteration of the show.

The Ritz theatre in Oaklyn, NJ had a preview performance of their production of RENT on 10/29 and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. The cast was superb, but the two names you might recognize, Broadway vet, Krysten Cummings and ANTM (America's Next Top Model) contestant, Corey Wade Hindorf. The theatre set the mood early, walking into the space you were greeted with  early 90’s alternative music. The set was designed in true RENT fashion: scaffolding, long tables, christmas lights and a questionable modern art statue all detailed with graffiti; the set was lit to perfection by lighting verteran Chris Miller. Adding to the dynmaics of the stage, a live three-piece band, led by Musical Director Brian Bacon, sat precariously in sight. Live music is few and far between in the theatre community; pre-recorded tracks have become the norm, but the choice for live music was smart. It added to the attitude and rock aspect of the show.

The entire ensemble worked it and left it all on stage! The cast included some of the most gifted vocalist in the Philadelphia/Jersey area. The Protagonists Mark and Roger found their stride and worked well together, they were complimented by the beautiful Martha Wasser as Maureen. She lit up the stage with her swollen utters and enthusiastic preiview audience who were willing to MOO! When prompted. Larissa Bunch, Winner of Song Bird (cycle 2?) plays Maureen girlfriend Joanne; Bunch’s voice was, as always, show stopping. My personal favorite numbers were sung by the “hobos.” Krysten Cummings, who originated the role of Mimi in London and has played the role many times, since gave me life with  her magical vocals and amazing ability to be present in a scene 110%, it was enchanting. The beautiful and fabulous Corey Wade plays Angel. He captured my attention from the moment he walked on stage. Made me love him, with his drum playing and soulful riffing voice, then made me ugly cry (for reasons I won't put in print incase there are some weirdos who haven’t seen a production of RENT #getwithit)

This show runs until November 21st, any RENT head within the area will make it, but everyone should cross the bridge to take in this piece of theatre!  More Info here.

Read Related Posts...