Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 17, 2010


Opera House Players, Broad Brook, CT
through March 7, 2010
by Eric Sutter

Love conquers all, even in the worst case scenarios of life. This message is the theme that ties the plots of "Rent" together. "Rent" has a lot going for it... a stellar cast of young actors playing energetic characters that truly deliver. It is fast paced and funny and, at times, soars. This is cutting edge theatre with a radical welcome that deals with modern issues.

The musical drama begins with the soliloquy of the show's narrator Mark (Thomas Jon Creatore) spending a cold Christmas Eve in the Lower East Side industrial loft he shares with his roommate musician Roger (Tom Knightlee). Memorable music fills the story, including the title song. "You Okay Honey," is sung by Angel (Gionannie 'Desio' Mendez), an HIV+ transvestite street musician. The bohemian lifestyles of the characters' risque lives are woven together with a vagabond spirit of fantastic dialogue, song, and dance. In one scene, Angel is outlandishly dressed as a transvestite Santa Claus. Contemporary love songs include "Tango Maureen" and "I'll Cover You."

Act I I begins with the company posing the question "How do you measure a year in the life? ("Seasons of Love"). This is the beauty in the midst of chaos with the entire cast harmonizing. Of course, "Rent" has a lot to say about love and the good measure of things people will do for it in the face of adversity. At times, it was hard to follow the story with all its twists of confusion but "Voice Mail #5" reaffirmed the source of love. The company joined to reprise the affirmation that love is all and that there is no day but today in the finale, "Your Eyes."