Ground-breaking play ‘RENT’ to be at CMU

QUICKREAD

Behind the scenes

The Bravo Behind-the-Scenes Series will debut this year before each of the four main stage theater shows at Colorado Mesa University.

The events, which are open to Bravo Club members and season ticket holders, offer a wine and hors d’ouevre reception in the new multi-purpose room at Moss Performing Arts Center. The 6:30 p.m. reception includes talks from theater faculty members Jeremy Franklin and Mo LaMee.

Here is the schedule:

■ Saturday, Sept. 29 — Art is Theft: The RENT-ing of “La Boheme.”

■ Saturday, Nov. 17 — “Almost Maine”: Mysterious Encounters Beneath the Northern Sky.

■ Saturday, March 2 — Operetta On Its Ear: The Topsy-Turvy World of “The Pirates of Penzance.”

■ Saturday, April 20 — “The Glass Menagerie”: Glimpsing Rare and Exotic Creatures in Tennessee Williams’ Art and Life.

To RSVP for the reception before “RENT,” contact the box office at 248-1604 by 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.



The show that changed — and challenged — Broadway is coming to Grand Junction.

Colorado Mesa University will stage the rock opera “RENT” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 27–30, and again Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 3–6, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Robinson Theatre in Moss Performing Arts Center.

Although no one on the 20-student cast was likely old enough to remember when “RENT” debuted in 1996 on Broadway, the CMU actors have immersed themselves in the emotion of the songs and roles they have been cast to play, director Jeremy Franklin said.

“RENT” is about a group of impoverished, young friends and artists living in the early-1990s in New York City’s East Village. The musical won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the 1996 Pulitzer Price for drama, after delving into the topics of drug addiction, poverty and AIDS, which had not been addressed before on Broadway to the magnitude of “RENT.”

The show is rated R for strong language, adult subject matter, drug use and sexual situations, making it different than many other musicals CMU stages.

However, both Franklin and theater department head Tim Pinnow said there are educational components in “RENT” that made it a worthwhile addition to this year’s main stage season.

“Most of the new musicals coming out are pop-music based,” Pinnow said. “We have a responsibility to train them in rock opera. ... Every year, there should be something that stretches us.”

The students have been rehearsing since the school year began, and rehearsals have gotten emotional because of the subject matter and because the actors are playing New Yorkers not much older than themselves, Franklin said.

“It means something very dear to us now,” Franklin said.

Tickets to CMU’s production of “RENT” cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $6 for students and are available through the box office at 248-1604 and at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/theatre.

Season tickets for the 2012–13 stage season are still available.

CMU also is offering discounted season passes for those who had Broadway at the Avalon season tickets. That series was canceled with two shows left.

Broadway at the Avalon season ticket holders will need to show proof they had the tickets to get the discounted rate, which is $50 for adults and $40 for seniors.



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