Amity High School Production of Rent

I remember, years ago, proudly playing my bit parts in high school theatre productions. Our town didn’t have a daily paper but the neighboring town did, and inevitably as we prepared for our second performance, someone would rush in with the paper’s review of our play. The stars would be elated or devastated by the reviews and bit part actors like myself would feel ignored and unnoticed.

It is with these memories in mind that I offer up my review of Amity High School’s production of Rent. It is not an objective unbiased review. It is strongly influenced by my youthful memories, and even if the show was not as spectacular as it was, I would probably still feel compelled to praise it. But Amity’s production of Rent deserves no false praise. Instead, it has earned every word of praise it receives, and then some. Likewise, the actors and actresses shouldn’t be relying on any local reviews of their performances. They should all know that they have done a stellar job and should be elated.

I have to start off by applauding the theatre department for tackling Rent. It is a great play, and given all that is going on in our country as we deal with a difficult economy and problems with our health care system, we need more schools putting on challenging productions like this.

I have tons of personal reactions to the production, which I’ll save for a different blog post. Instead, let’s look at the production. Ethan Sachs and John Jorge, as Mark Cohen and Roger Davis, a young musician and a young filmmaker living in New York City’s Lower East Side, gave great performances that established a solid foundation and steady tempo for the whole play.

This provided a wonderful platform for some outstanding performances, such as Richie Lucibello’s rendition of the drag queen Angel Schunard, and Amanda Robles characterization of Mimi Marquez, the other lead character that dies of AIDS in the play.

Connor Deane, Melissa Vernick, Marla Morris and Ken Adair rounded out the group of young bohemians and their friends quite nicely.

Even if you don’t know the musical, you may know one of the songs from it, “Seasons of Love”, which starts “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes” and asks “how you measure a year in the life”?

As we look at large numbers, whether it be the trillions being spent on revitalizing our economy, or the half million minutes in a year, it is useful to break them down into small management amounts, like $15 for a ticket to a great musical and the 120 minutes to watch it.

The first two performance of Rent at Amity High School sold out. There are three more performances and you can buy tickets online.

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