You may not want to pay it, but you should go see ‘Rent’

rentSet in New York City in the ’90s, the smash Broadway musical Rent, is relevant to Portland audiences in almost any decade. And it has returned to the stage with original cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal.

The opening night party was last night, but there’s still plenty of time to catch the show. Check out my write-up from Just Out:

In the 1990s Broadway exploded with a racy new musical about young poor folk, afflicted with AIDS and other issues, trying to survive the bohemian lifestyle in lower Manhattan. Tony-winning Rent, the queer Gen X sensation based on Puccini’s La Boheme, is back; the touring production hits Portland for a multi-night stint beginning Wednesday, June 23.

Featuring original cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp – Roger and Mark, respectively, in both the 1996 stage production and the 2005 feature film – the Broadway Across America effort brings the Great White Way to the masses with the same degree of integrity as its New York counterpart. And even though the actors are ten years older, reviews have been overwhelmingly positive that they can still express the ennui and angst of youth.

Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks says of the original duo:

To their great advantage … both actors still look and sound remarkably like the Roger and Mark of the mid-’90s. If anything, Pascal’s voice-built-for-rock shows more range, and Rapp finds a new depth of passion in Mark, the conflicted filmmaker from the ‘burbs. His vocal contribution has always been underrated, for Rapp competes satisfyingly with the powerhouse Pascal, who is also bringing more varied emotionality to Roger, the story’s blocked rock composer.

Better still, Portland audiences have the chance to meet these singing talents and contribute to Cascade AIDS Project at the same time. Opening night’s VIP Cast After-party welcomes all CAP supporters to celebrate Rent’s PDX arrival. The entirety of the soiree’s $55 admission – which does not include the performance – goes directly to CAP, a small price to pay to schmooze with legendary stage and screen stars; also on tap, the usual hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar.

And though “525,000 moments so dear” cannot be promised during opening night alone – or even the run of the show – there surely will be more than a few.

Rent runs Wed., June 23-Sun., June 28, at 7:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Sunday, plus matinees at 2 p.m. Sat., 1 p.m. Sun. at the Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay. Regular tickets are $28.50 and up, 503-248-4335

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