RENT survives persistent fire alarm 

Surprising performances make for a great show

The City Paper sent its theater queens to the new White Tuxedo production of RENT, one of the biggest Broadway hits of the last 20 years. Neither Greg nor Shane have lived in New York City, unless you count watching every episode of Sex and the City. Not much different, right?

Greg: So, someone honestly asked if this was the first time we were seeing the show.
Shane: Oh, they must be new. Between the movie, the touring show, and the final Broadway performance — trust me, we’ve met.
Greg: But, there may be some out there who haven’t seen the show before.
Shane: Then how in Sondheim’s name did they find this review?
Greg: Point taken, but let’s go ahead and offer the setup.
Shane: RENT is about friends struggling to make ends meet in New York City, but they’re still having fun.
Greg: Regardless of their hard-knock, squatter existence.
Shane: Before we get to the quality of the show, let’s talk about the big problem last night.
Greg: You mean the fire alarm that kept interrupting the first act?
Shane: Flashing lights, a blaring buzzer, and automated warnings to get out of the building.
Greg: The ironic part is that there was a line in the program suggesting my cell phone would be a distraction.
Shane: Yeah, the Lady Gaga ringtone would have been so annoying, but a blaring horn …
Greg: Let’s get to the performance.
Shane: It’s a good show. The problems Friday had nothing to do with the acting or the staging. Most surprising was that my favorite performances weren’t the typical ones.
Greg: Like …
Shane: Scottie McLaughlin as Tom Collins. Particularly in the reprise of “Cover You” in the second act. I was crying.
Greg: The program noted that he’s done the show twice before and I would believe it.
Shane: And Brett Travis as struggling rocker Roger Davis. His voice was powerful and a welcome surprise.
Greg: From the looks of him, I was expecting something more like Creed than RENT.
Shane: And the chemistry between Roger and Mimi (Jennifer Fogarty) … she was crawling across that table and I was thinking, “Girl, go get your man.”
Greg: And we haven’t mentioned Rori Nogee as Maureen, the wacky performance artist.
Shane: Her monologue was so terrific, there was so much attitude and so much of her.
Greg: Overall, the whole production started a little slow, but once you got to the Life Support meeting, the show went full-force to the end.
Shane: Really? I thought “Tango Marueen” was really good.
Greg: I was too distracted by the fire alarm, but I was very impressed at the actors’ focus.
Shane: Another glowing moment was the finale. A fresh mix of “Seasons of Love” had me ready to stay all night.
Greg: And a few of the actors were still singing while they were walking off the stage.
Shane: The entire production will improve night after night. It’s definitely worth seeing tomorrow.
Greg: But there’s “no day like today.”
Shane: (Sigh) “Today for you, tomorrow for me.”

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