“Rent” showcases Wilson talent

Photo courtesy of Sofia Suardi

Hannah Frank and Elena Rubens Goldfarb

Upon arriving at Wilson’s production of “Rent” we instantly became captivated by the elaborate set design and the creative cast bios in the playbill. This introduction was a preview of the powerful themes and innovative artistry demonstrated throughout the entire production.

The show opened with Mark, played by freshman Zack Rakotomanerika, and Roger, played by senior Aidan Trinity, in their New York City apartment on Christmas Eve. Both of the actors were first time performers at Wilson and excelled in their roles. Following the leads’ duet came the first ensemble number, “Rent.” The choreography, singing, and staging were outstanding and kept the audience interested.

As first time viewers of the show, we found some parts difficult to understand, due to the complexity of story lines and organization of the transitions. With the development of individual characters, we were able to feel the chemistry between actors, specifically, Mimi (Gabriella Anifantis) and Roger (Trinity). The characters’ spark was initially seen during their duet, “Light My Candle.” Their connection captured the essence of Mimi and Roger’s relationship as the characters struggled with their own personal issues and their romantic life.

The second act began with the show’s iconic song, “Seasons of Love.” This song created the main theme in the show, which was that the value of a life is measured by the amount of love one receives and gives.
The climax of the story centers around the death of Angel, played by senior Sammy Solomon, a beloved member of the community who found his voice through the art of drag. This death put a toll on the friendships between the main characters, while also allowing the viewers to recognize the extensive impact of the 80’s AIDS epidemic. Throughout this act, the audience was able to feel a more personal connection to the individual characters. This emotional connection was specifically evident in the duet of “Goodbye Love,” when Tom Collins (Ben Schiffrin) says goodbye to his partner Angel.

One of our personal favorite numbers of the show took place in the second act, “Take Me or Leave Me.” This song complemented the voices of senior Julia Ravenscroft and sophomore Nikki Keating, acting as Maureen and Joanne. “My favorite part of the show was definitely ‘Take Me or Leave Me.’ Acting and singing with Julia were one of the best experiences,” Keating said.

The show made a lasting impression and kept both viewers and actors wanting more. The message, that love, and connection are the qualities that cultivate a well-lived life, is certainly a message fitting not only for Wilson’s community but for our larger world.