Here’s Why “Rent” Is Still as Relevant Today as It Was When It Was First Staged in the ‘90s

Rent 9 Works Theatrical

Photo / 9 Works Theatrical

Imagine the gritty but feisty New York in the ’80s and ’90s. Then, imagine a group of young adults trying to navigate poverty, the loss of love, the discovery of romance, and the pursuit of their dreams in the city. Imagine them yearning to truly seize the day, with the constant shadow of HIV and AIDS looming over them. 

You might think that the moment has passed for the Broadway musical Rent. It, however, remains as powerful as when it was first staged in 1993. 9 Works Theatrical is mounting its much-anticipated revival this April to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Here are some reasons why Rent, possibly the most popular rock musical conveying the story of our times, is still as relevant today as it was when it was first staged in the ’90s:

It’s a story of friendship. Mark, a filmmaker, documents the lives of his friends, including Roger, a musician struggling with his past; Mimi, a dancer fighting illness and addiction; Tom Collins, a professor and activist; and Angel, a drag queen with a pure heart. Through their intertwined lives, from the most delightful to the most terrifying moments, we see the complexities of love, compassion, art, and adulthood. 

 

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It’s a story of representation. Rent features a diverse cast of characters. From ethnicities to sexual orientation and socioeconomic backgrounds, it’s a show that captures the richness of modern life. Rent’s characters are fleshed out with their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives–and in watching, you will no doubt recognize yourself.

It’s a story of reality. Rent doesn’t shy away from talking about dark, ugly things like poverty, oppression, and disease. From then til now, it sparks meaningful conversations about LGBTQ+ rights, healthcare, and even gentrification. It talks about death, loss, and regret. Rent is brave in spotlighting these pressing issues, forcing you to reexamine your values and beliefs. 

 

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It’s a story of hope. At the heart of Rent is hope. It celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and how love, friendship, and art can transform you. The musical is inspiring without being didactic; through its memorable music and unforgettable characters, we are reminded to believe in ourselves, to pursue our passions, and to stand up for what we believe in. 

It’s a story of impact. Beyond what you see onstage, Rent has had a profound influence on popular culture. Jonathan Larson’s work has helped shape the landscape of modern musical theater. It features diverse musical styles (think rock and pop to soul and gospel). And its music? Still iconic. Songs like “Seasons of Love,” “La Vie Bohème,” and “Light My Candle” will leave you singing along (just not during the musical itself). 

It’s a story of connection. Watching this rock musical will make you feel a sense of connection and community that is comforting and empowering. Rent‘s relatable characters and themes will allow you to see yourself reflected on stage. Mark, Mimi, Tom, Angel–they’re your friends. You’re in the Big Apple. And you’re dying to live and dreading to die, all at once. 

 

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Anthony Rosaldo stars as Roger Davis, while Reb Atadero and Ian Pangilinan are Mark Cohen, Thea Astley and Molly Langley are Mimi Marquez, Garret Bolden is Tom Collins, Lance Reblando and Adrian Lindayag are Angel Dumott Schunard, Justine Peña and Jasmine Fitzgerald are Maureen Johnson, Mica Fajardo and Fay Castro are Joanne Jefferson, Markki Stroem and Guji Lorenzana (in certain performances) are Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III, and Jordan Andrews, Chesko Rodriguez, Vyen Villanueva, Abi Sulit, Paul Valdez, Misha Fabian, and Kai Banson play Gordon, Steve, Paul, Pam, Ally, Sue of the Life Support.

Robbie Guevara directs this production, and Daniel Bartolome joins him as musical director, Mio Infante as scenographer, PJ Rebullida as choreographer, Shakira Villa-Symes as lighting designer, Joee Mejias as video designer, Bam Tiongson as sound designer, Dong Calingacion as technical director, Elliza Aurelio as FOH, hair and makeup head, Cathy Azanza-Dy as acting coach, Lionel Guico as vocal coach, and JV Rabano as photographer.

Santi Santamaria heads the production team as the executive producer, along with Anna Santamaria as the operations and finance director, Charyl De Guzman as production manager, Jonjon Martin as PR manager, GM Hernandez as marketing manager, Jenna Macalagay as marketing and social media manager, Reine Bantang as marketing and PR supervisor, and Arma Bonilla as stage manager.

Rent will be showing from April 19, 2024, until the first weekend of June 2024, at 3 PM and 8 PM on Saturdays and Sundays and 8 PM on Fridays, at the CPR Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati. Tickets are now available via ticket2me.net.

For partnerships and ticket or show buying inquiries, you may reach 9 Works Theatrical via info@9workstheatrical.com, 7586 7105, or 0917 554 5560. 

You may follow them on Facebook and YouTube (@9WorksTheatrical) and Twitter, Instagram & TikTok (@9WTonline) for updates.


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