The 20th Anniversary Broadway Tour of the iconic musical “RENT” brought audience members to their feet and tears to their eyes when it took the Lincoln Center stage on its opening night. The highly acclaimed musical made a three day, four performance stop in Fort Collins this past weekend and did not disappoint is audience in any way. The tour made its first stop on Thursday, Dec. 1, and will close Saturday night, Dec. 3.
“RENT” is one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time, and it is suggested that this musical alone and its impact changed the world of Broadway and theater. It was the only musical of its time to conquer topics such as AIDS, homelessness and the “bohemian” way of life. Taking place in the late `80s when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak in New York and poverty filled the streets, the musical is a recap of the lifestyle that its writer Jonathan Larson was actually facing himself before he passed away the night before the show opened off Broadway. It is suggested that these topics along with Larson’s death and the message that it portrays is what made the musical have such an extreme impact on its community.
With the show opening at the Lincoln Center on World AIDS Day, many people in the audience used the show as a way to also gain education on what the AIDS epidemic was like at its worst. Many audience members were brought to tears numerous times throughout the show when realizing the harsh reality that these people faced.
During the most popular “RENT” song, “Season’s of Love,” many people sang along quietly to themselves, one audience member commenting “I just want to sing the whole thing with up there with them.” Many quiet comments from surrounding audience members could be heard throughout the show, such as “I have goosebumps again” and “I’m crying and its not even real.” It was obvious to see that “RENT” has the capabilities of moving an audience.
Fort Collins resident Sarah Danish was attending the show with her mother, who was seeing the show for the first time. Sarah said her high school performed the show and she fell in love with it, and she wanted her mom to experience what she had the first time she saw it.
“I was a little bit scared because of the language and some of the things that happen on stage, but she actually really liked it,” Danish said. “We’re going to watch the movie this weekend now.”
The rave reviews of the show lived up to what was experienced when “RENT” came through Fort Collins. It is without a doubt one of the most life-changing musicals for a reason: the themes of love, the value of friendship and caring for others touching the hearts of its audience. Not off trend from other shows put on by the Lincoln Center, the production value of the show was top notch. The rock band that served as accompaniment for the musical and energetic lights helped to fuel the musical’s high energy mood, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
Although “RENT” only played in Fort Collins for a weekend, many more Broadway tours will be rolling through at the Lincoln Center this upcoming 2016/2017 season including “Once” and “Pippin.” On top of that, local theatre company OpenStage Theatre produces shows at the center that will take place throughout the season as well. Do not miss out on a chance to see Broadway quality theater right in the heart of Fort Collins.