Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As you've probably heard from me by now in one way or another (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, shouting at you in a bar), I'm in RENT at the Players Guild Theatre! I am playing Steve and understudying Roger.

Performances are:

Fri. Sept 11th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 12th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 13th - 2:30pm
Fri. Sept 18th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 19th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 20th - 2:30pm*
Fri. Sept 25th - 8pm*
Sat. Sept 26th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 27th - 2:30pm

*performances that I am playing Roger

Box Office: (330) 453-7617 (Tues- Sat. 10am-2pm)

So what can I tell you about this production? Well, it's a spirited and talented cast of people who really GET this show. The messages of love, friendship, and hope in the face of death, pour out from this experienced cast. Some of these songs are really going to blow you away. The band is ROCKIN and air-guitar inducing. The staging is very cool, with a few tips of the hat to the original production, and some inspired new things to see in terms of set design. The set is a big dirty playground of a canvas for the cast to perform on.

Bonus! We're making a cast recording! CD's will be available opening night and at every performance, and what I've heard of the recordings is really fantastic. It was a blast going into the studio with such a talented group of people, under such fine musical direction and production.

If you don't know anything about RENT, here's a synopsis:

Rent is based loosely on Puccini's opera La Bohème. It follows a year in the lives of seven friends living the disappearing Bohemian lifestyle in New York's East Village. AIDS and both its physical and emotional complications pervade the lives of Roger, Mimi, Tom Collins, and Angel; Maureen deals with her chronic infidelity through performance art; her partner, Joanne, wonders if their relationship is worth the trouble; Benjamin has sold out his Bohemian ideals in exchange for a hefty income and is on the outs with his former friends; and Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, feels like an outsider to life in general, always behind the camera recording the events but never playing a part. Rent is easily one of the most touching modern rock musicals ever written.

The musical received accolades such as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony Award for Best Musical, Tony Award for Best Book, Tony Award for Best Score, Drama Desk for Outstanding Book and Drama Desk’s Outstanding Musical.

And now I take off my salesman's hat and give you an actual blog post...

If you've never seen RENT, and you've lived in NE Ohio all of your life, expect to be taken just slightly out of your comfort zone. In what ways? RENT dives into a world that is very different from one that we often see in Canton. This, to me, is a beautiful thing. I love the relative safety, quaintness, and home-town feel that I grew up in here, but there are real people, with real lives, that live, love, and survive very differently from us. I think that RENT paints a beautiful, honest picture of a lifestyle that is different from what many of us experience here. So often artists, African Americans, homosexuals, and drug addicts, are portrayed as caricatures that are a wacky sidekick or comic relief. In RENT, they are the real people that the story centers around. The masks are off and the humans are shown on stage. I think it's an important production to bring to Canton, as I am personally passionate about opening people's eyes to a world that is earth-sized, not state, or city, or family sized. It's something I work on in my own head, and encourage others to do the same.

Also, the music ranges from rock to pop-rock to gospel in influence. It's at times jumping, crazy, exciting fun, and at times gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

So what are you waiting for?! Go to the Players Guild website, or call the box office (330-453-7617) to reserve your tickets to this groundbreaking production for North East Ohio.