Monday, April 30, 2012


Josh Grisetti as Mark.
Photo by Joan Marcus.
Calling all RENTheads who have a passion for journalism, documenting real life, or simply the need to express or communicate!

The search is on for an official RENThead Video Correspondent who has a vibrant on-camera personality and is ready and willing to conduct video interviews with members of the cast at New World Stages in New York City.

  • Create a 30-second video showing us your personality and telling us why you deserve to make your mark as an official RENThead Video Correspondent, and one example question of what you’d ask a cast member if you were to interview them in person at New World Stages. You must visually appear and speak in your video. Please do not edit your video in any manner.
  • Upload your video to and submit the URL to by the deadline of 11:59 PM Eastern on Friday June 1, 2012.
    • Be sure to name your YouTube video: RENT’s “MAKE YOUR MARK” Video Contest Entry
    • Remember – your video must be 30 seconds or less – no exceptions allowed!
    • In the body of your e-mail, please include your first and last name, age, current city and state of residence, e-mail address, and phone number.

  • One winner will be selected as the official RENThead Video Correspondent, who will get the chance to interview members of the Off-Broadway cast at New World Stages.
  • Winner will also receive a pair of tickets to see RENT at New World Stages.

Limit one entry per person. Must be a legal resident of the U.S. age 18 or older. Winner is solely responsible for transportation and lodging. Winner must be able to travel to New York between August 1, 2012 and August 15, 2012. Video editing experience is not required for this contest.

Click here to read the official rules and regulations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


The Company of RENT. Photo by Joan Marcus.
RENT fans, three Wednesday matinee performances have been added to the month of May!  The lottery for these matinees will begin at 12 PM with names drawn at 12:30 PM at New World Stages in New York City.

Please note the following changes to RENT's performance schedule for May 2012:
  • Added performance Wednesday, May 2 at 2 PM
  • No performance Sunday, May 6 at 7:30 PM
  • Added performance Wednesday, May 9 at 2 PM
  • No performance Sunday, May 13 at 7:30 PM
  • Added performance Wednesday, May 16 at 2 PM
  • No performance Sunday, May 20 at 7:30 PM
Beginning the week of May 21, RENT will resume its regular performance schedule, which is as follows:
  • Monday at 8 PM
  • Wednesday – Friday at 8 PM
  • Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM
  • Sunday at 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Lottery Details
RENT sells 16 seats via a lottery for each performance at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). The tickets are $25, cash only. All tickets include a $1.50 facility fee.

Names are collected in front of the Box Office (outside on 50th Street) from the beginning of the lottery until drawing time. Limit one (1) entry per person, each person may win up to two (2) tickets. Must be present at the time of the drawing to win. Must present valid photo ID to purchase tickets.

The lottery takes place at the below times during RENT's regular performance schedule:
  • Monday: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM (names drawn at 6:30 PM)
  • Tuesday: Dark
  • Wednesday: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM (names drawn at 6:30 PM)
  • Thursday: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM (names drawn at 6:30 PM)
  • Friday: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM (names drawn at 6:30 PM)
  • Saturday: Noon – 12:30 PM (names drawn at 12:30 PM)
  • Saturday: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM (names drawn at 6:30 PM)
  • Sunday: Noon – 12:30 PM (names drawn at 12:30 PM)
  • Sunday: 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM (names drawn at 6:00 PM)
Click here to buy tickets online.  For more information about the Off-Broadway production of RENT, visit

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Official RENT Blog contributor Nicole Wright saw the 2005 film version of RENT before seeing the Broadway production at the Nederlander Theatre.  Read more about her first experience at RENT through Kids' Night on Broadway!

Christmas morning, 2006.

Unwrapping the box and seeing a RENT T-shirt, while wrapped inside that, a ticket to the show! My sister, Michelle, and I were jumping up and down screaming, as she had received the same thing. We were both finally going to see the musical whose movie soundtrack blasted throughout our house ever since we received it. Counting down the days, it was finally time for us to see the show on January 30th.

Kids' Night on Broadway is an event when theatre attendees age eighteen and younger see a Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. There’s a pre-party event (for 2007, it was at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum) full of fun freebies, activities, and the opportunity to meet performers from various shows. The combination of RENT being offered as part of this deal and the fact that she now knew the story (thanks to the movie) allowed my mother to be okay with bringing two of her children to this Broadway show.

Even though I knew of many of the songs and much of the story previously, I walked into the Nederlander Theatre with an open mind. Theatre and film are two completely different mediums; additionally, I knew the cast I was about to see would be different that what I was used to, but that only helped to create a completely new chapter in my RENT-life.

I remember seeing the stage for the first time: no curtain, very simplistic, and beautiful for the production. No matter how many times you see a picture of a particular place, nothing compares to seeing it in real life. It was raw, it held multipurpose, and looked like it would be a lot of fun to play around on. It wasn’t long before the show began and I was entranced in a way that I could simply not experience with the film.

Naturally, my mind began to make connections to the film. I really enjoyed seeing how some aspects of the production were carried into the film (for example, the cast standing in line singing “Seasons of Love”) and how I could recognize some of the film dialogue used as lyrics in the show. Before I knew it, I was on my feet along with most of the audience, giving the cast a well-deserved ovation.

Photo by Joan Marcus.
After the show concluded, ensemble member Frenchie Davis made a speech on the significance of bringing kids to the theatre, encouraging all of us to “follow your dreams.”

Personally, theatre is my favorite form of art/entertainment. RENT exceeded my expectations so much that I had to return several times to see more interpretations of these songs, characters, and stories. Each experience was different from one another, because that’s how theatre is – it’s in the moment, it’s never the same show twice, and it’s different for each person. RENT’s “no day but today” message is also in the moment, which makes its theatrical connection a fantastic thing to experience.


Monday, April 9, 2012


In his introductory post, Official RENT Blog contributor Andrew Milne selected Maureen as his favorite character in RENT.  Andrew is back to give us a breakdown on the allure of Maureen.

The name Maureen can mean “bitter,” “uncertain,” or “popular.” Jonathan Larson definitely knew what he was doing; Maureen is both vitriolic and attractive, spiteful and charming, vinegar and honey at once, and she catches hordes of flies. Mark and Joanne cannot get enough of her; Maureen charms them into her web until they wrap themselves tighter in her grasp, spinning them faster and faster – until she gets bored and moves on. Despite themselves, Joanne and Mark fall under her spell endlessly, and they “yearn and churn and rebound,” because no one can say no to Maureen, not even Maureen herself. Despite (or perhaps because) of her changeable (and often downright mean) moods, they find themselves drawn back to her, no matter how selfish or indifferent she becomes.

Maureen doesn’t do this because she is a bad person; it’s just because she’s an actress. All of her support, reinforcement, and confidence are external. Just as Mimi craves smack, Joanne seeks order, and Benny lusts for money, Maureen has her own addiction: attention. Capricious by trade and by nature, she’s an actress through and through; they project bravado because they don’t want anyone to sense they lack it. She needs applause like Angel needs Collins’ kisses. Not that she needs approbation; positive or negative, she just wants a reaction. This is why she makes a scene with Joanne during “Take Me or Leave Me.” She’s a diva who definitely “needs her stage;” and she sees everyone else in her life as merely players.

Emma Hunton as Maureen and Corbin Reid as Joanne.  Photo by Joan Marcus.
This is why I compare her to Marilyn Monroe, not for any similar looks (for Maureen’s hair is as dark as the effect she has on her lovers’ respective psyches) but because of their shared idiosyncrasies and the similar influence they hold on others. They’re beautiful and magnetic, but unfulfilled and damaged. Marilyn once described herself as “whole superstructure and no foundation,” an affliction the two women share. Maureen has no foundation of self-worth; she draws upon her audience, changing herself for her art, becoming who she needs to be. Unfortunately, she cannot turn off this facet of her personality, and as a result, she never truly knows how talented or wonderful she is. Thus she oscillates between affection, rejection, hyper sexuality, and near-mania. This unpredictability makes her mysterious, an appealing enigma to lovers, but also makes her closed off and impossible to ever really understand. It’s what chases her to cheat – it’s nothing Joanne or Mark do; she’s just running away from her own demons into the arms of others.

Maureen is a spider, manipulative, entrancing, and consuming. She’s not a bad person; her issues just make her intemperate and fiery, and often impulsive and self-destructive. They also make her irresistible to Joanne and Mark, and ceaselessly fascinating to RENTheads everywhere. She’s the most flawed, and also the most relatable and compelling.


Thursday, April 5, 2012


Official RENT Blog contributor Tommy Collison traveled from Ireland to Providence, Rhode Island, to see RENT's original Mark and Roger, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal.  Tommy tells us more about his experience attending the 2009 Broadway Tour.

November 21st, 8pm, Eastern Standard Time.

The young man with short, bleached-blonde hair ambles out on stage, a Fender guitar swung over his shoulder. Nonchalantly, he begins tuning the guitar. These actions, though seeming innocuous, are underscored by huge applause from the audience.

Not long after, a bespectacled man with reddish-blond hair bounds onstage, sporting a striped scarf and cradling a 16 mm Bolex video-camera like a newborn baby. Behind these two unlikely protagonists, the twenty-something-strong company files onstage.

RENT has begun.

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp returned in 2009 on a National Tour of the show that made them famous. I was lucky enough to make it over to Providence, Rhode Island in November 2009 to see the show.

What can I say?

The show was an absolute joy, as was to be expected. Rapp and Pascal (Rascal) originated their respective roles, so seeing the original interpretations of the characters we hold so dear was magical. I’m all for new actors carrying the torch and giving new life to these characters, but there’s something to be said for the people who were part of the original 1996 company. What you’re seeing is largely what the people who went in 1996 saw, and there’s something undeniably exhilarating about that. I saw a part of musical theatre history that night.

The Providence Performing Arts Center has almost three times the capacity of the Nederlander (3,100 seats versus 1,232), but I was happy that none of the intimacy, urgency, nor rawness of the show was lost.

At the end of the night, the feeling that I felt was one of overwhelming relief and happiness that I got to see this tour before it closed. I got to meet Anthony Rapp and tell him personally how much his work (both theatric and written) has influenced and affected me, and to thank him for that.

(Yes, that’s a Mark scarf I’m sporting. My mother is great.)


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Official RENT Blog contributor Rori Nogee shares how RENT truly changed her life.

“Take me for what I am. Who I was meant to be. And if you give a damn, take me baby, or leave me.”

It sounds like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? To just be yourself and not give a second thought about the opinions of others? I always understood this notion in theory, but my school years made it very difficult to practice the whole self-acceptance thing. Kids can be cruel.

I figured that college would be the place to really focus on finding myself and to meet other open-minded free spirited individuals. Instead, what I found myself focusing on was a beautiful leather-jacket wearing, motorcycle riding, tattooed pointe ballerina with the grace of Baryshnikov and the raspy voice of my fearless idol, Daphne Rubin-Vega. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Mila Kunis’ character in Black Swan was based on this chick.) I couldn’t take my eyes off of her when she walked into a room, my heart beat faster in her presence, I sweat in secret places and I even had recurring dreams about her. I didn’t understand why. Why was I so consumed by her when I was also crushing heavily on one of the guys in my theater department?

I confided in close friends and eventually realized the simple truth: I was attracted to this girl. While that conclusion was scary and confusing, it was not helped any by the ultra-conservative white bred atmosphere that surrounded me in upstate NY. Rumors spread. I was teased, tormented, ostracized, called names…and of course, the girl that I respected and admired and thought was sooo beautiful…was fearful of me because of what she had heard, because I was too afraid to just come out and tell her the truth myself. I felt like a derelict, like something was horribly wrong with me. How could I love two people at once? Of different sexes?? And should I apologize to this girl because…I thought she was amazing? I wished I didn’t love so hard. I wished I could change. I wished I could just be like everyone else.

So, I did what I always did when times got tough…I hopped a bus to NYC, bought a ticket to RENT and sought solace whilst sitting on the lime green stoop of the Nederlander Theatre. It was so familiar, so comforting, such a constant in an ever-changing and uncertain world. That night, when I saw the show for the umpteenth time, the lyrics and music and messages that I had memorized back in the 8th grade… were life-changing. Suddenly, the depiction of same-sex relationships on stage was a marvel.

Kendra Payne as Joanne and Rori Nogee as Maureen, performing "Take Me or Leave Me" at the Charleston Music Hall
Angel and Collins fell deeply for each other at a time when everyone in the gay community was treated like a leper because of the AIDS epidemic (a feeling I was all too familiar with on a social level). Yet, despite the impossible circumstances surrounding them, their love knew no bounds. Then, there was Maureen. Ah, Maureen. So flawed, so fickle, and yet… so loved. She captivated Mark and Joanne as well as the thousands of people in the audience. She sang right to Joanne’s face in her “take no prisoners” voice: “Take me for what I am/Who I was meant to be/And if you give a damn/Take me baby, or leave me.” No guilt, no apology, no compromise. She wasn’t perfect by any means, but she was a complete package, she OWNED her shit, and she was not willing to change for anyone. What a concept!

This rang true for all of the loveable characters in the show with their flaws and insecurities: Mark was introverted and disconnected from everyone around him, Roger was constantly brooding, in denial about his emotions and his love for Mimi, and Mimi battled with her addictions. Yet, the audience cried for these characters, envied them, celebrated them, reveled in their uniqueness, their passions, and most importantly, their devotion to one another in the face of poverty and looming death. It’s what made them human. Then, like a cartoon, a light bulb went off over my head as I realized…there is nothing wrong with me.

At that moment, the cast lined up in a single file line at the front of the stage and sang those famous lyrics, “Measure your life in love.” It was as if they were speaking right to me. It all made sense. Love was about a person’s soul, not their gender. Man, woman, straight, gay or somewhere in between…love came in all forms. Love is love, man.

It’s been a long hard road to self-acceptance, and I’m certainly not there yet, but thanks to RENT, I am well on my way. I will never again apologize for my feelings. While I have made my share of mistakes and bad decisions, you can’t choose who you love. It chooses you. All you can do is accept it, accept yourself for how you feel, and not be afraid to express it. Life is too short to waste it on worrying what other people might think about you.

Still, whenever I start to doubt myself, or hear the never forgotten jeers from people who were not my biggest fans, I close my eyes and replay the goosebump inducing song, “Another Day”: “There’s only now, there’s only here/ Give in to love, or live in fear/No other path, no other way/No day but today.” And I remember that wherever I am in life, whoever I am, and whomever I love…is perfectly okay. Roger was lucky to get one last moment to say to Mimi, “I should tell you/I should tell you/I have always loved you…,” but not all of us will get that opportunity if we spend our lives hiding in shame and silencing our hearts.