Friday, April 21, 2017

show review: RENT 20th anniversary tour

i'm typically iffy on most musicals; a full two hours of showtunes tend to make me start twitching. but there are two that i can't get enough of: rock of ages and RENT. i was fortunate to see the latter for the fourth (!) time on wednesday night at the shubert theatre in boston as part of the 20th anniversary tour, and it was fantastic and i teared up about four times.

based on the opera la boheme, the show premiered on broadway in 1996 and centers on a group of artists/musicians/creative types living in manhattan -- most of whom are drug addicts living with HIV/AIDS. not the sunniest subject matter, for sure, but most of the songs are surprisingly upbeat and get stuck in your head immediately. i had to stop myself from mouthing along the entire time like a freak. my favorite, "la vie boheme," from the movie adaptation which includes references to pee-wee herman, the sex pistols, soy burgers, dildos, and even pablo neruda.

the entire cast was incredible this time around, but i've gotta say that aaron harrington, an apparent "musical theater newcomer" who played tom collins, was far and away the best vocalist i've heard in a production (including broadway) in a loooong time. my mouth dropped open every time he sang, legit.

and of course, the iconic "seasons of love" just got me right in the feels as always. i mean, that high note at 1:16? HOW CAN YOU NOT SOB? she nailed it just like in this video, too.

TL;DR: go see RENT if you have the chance.

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