Based on Puccini’s La bohème, Jonathan Larson’s rock musical about starving artists living in the shadow of AIDS in New York’s East Village won the Tony, the Pulitzer and the hearts of countless audiences when it debuted in 1996. Fast-forward to 2012 (many seasons since we first heard Rent’s celebratory anthem, “Seasons of Love”), and the 5th Avenue Theatre is bringing a renewed rendition to the stage.
Not shying away from taking a fresh approach to classic musicals—despite the drastically mixed reaction to the theater’s recent update of Oklahoma!—the 5th’s staff promises that this version will be like no other production of Rent.
Differences include reimagined costumes and a rethinking of the character Angel, who in the Broadway version is a young drag queen, but in the 5th’s staging will be played more androgynously, in the style of Boy George. The theater purposely cast the roles with emerging local vocal talent, including Roosevelt High grads Ryah Nixon (as Maureen) and Daniel Berryman (as Mark), and local singer Naomi Morgan (as Mimi), all led by acclaimed Seattle director Bill Berry—which is definitely something to sing about.
7/21–8/19. Times and prices vary. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave.; 206.625.1900; 5thavenue.org