“It has become more than a musical — it’s a cultural touchstone, a rite of passage, and a source of joy and strength for millions,” boasts the press release for the current touring production of Rent, noting, “Rent has become a part of us forever.”
Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning show won’t run forever, however. In fact, after running almost continuously over the past quarter-century, kicking off with a 12-year stint that still ranks as the 11th-longest consecutive run in Broadway history, the latest touring production of Rent may be the last, if its official tagline is to be believed.
Ultimately, there’s not a lot of difference between the “25th Anniversary Farewell Tour” and the 20th anniversary version that ran for nearly four years, ending a few weeks before the pandemic, including a stop at the National Theatre in 2019.
Evan Ensign restaged both non-Equity productions based on the original 1996 production featuring the Tony-nominated work of director Michael Greif and choreographer Marlies Yearby.
Notably, a majority of the cast — as well as several members of the creative team — from the earlier anniversary production have returned for the latest.
They include Javon King as young drag queen Angel, Lyndie Moe as queer performance artist Maureen, Aiyana Smash as stripper Mimi, Coleman Cummings as struggling musician Roger, Shafiq Hicks as rabble-rousing professor Tom Collins, and Jarred Bedgood as Benny.
Returning creatives include designers Angela Wendt (costumes), Jonathan Spencer (lights), and Keith Caggiano (sound).
Larson’s modernized re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème follows a group of artists struggling to live, love, and pursue their dreams during the worst of the AIDS epidemic in early 1990s-era New York.
The five-show, single-weekend run opens Friday, March 25, and closes Sunday, March 27. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $130. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.broadwayatthenational.com.
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