Musical Theater Association Brings Broadway Classic “Rent” to UAlbany Stage

Published on Feb. 5, 2013

By. Casey So Hyeun Cho

"Rent" cast membersPhoto by Eric Kulpe

“Rent” cast members
                                        Photo by Eric Kulpe

The UAlbany Musical Theatre Association brought bohemian struggles of inner New York City to the Albany community with Jonathan Larson’s “Rent.”

The Tony Award winning production is known for its promiscuous themes, such as HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homelessness. It’s music is well0known, such as with the opening to the second act “Seasons of Love.”

“Rent” ran from Feb. 2 through Feb. 4 at the Studio Theatre, which located on the basement of the Performing Arts Center.

The opening night of the production was sold out, and the 17 cast members did not disappoint the New York City and “Rent” lovers alike.

When the long-waited production went on stage, the exciting beats, energy and passion burst out through the talented cast members.

One shining feature of the UAlbany Musical Theatre Association’s production was the vocals. The musical talent of the cast was outstanding.

However, throughout the show there were minor sound difficulties with the microphones that distracted the focus from the show. The cast sang really well, but there were instances where the microphone levels were too low and the orchestra overpowered the voices of the cast.

According to the director Samantha Jurman, the sound difficulties could be always expected and they improved as the shows proceeded.

The popularity of “Rent” was surely proven even in the beginning of the production.

“We had about 80 people audition initially and 30 people at call backs, but only being able to fit 17 on stage,” said Jurman. “There are so many talented people here at UAlbany.”

The directors succeeded in picking the best singers that fit their characters. The music was the forte of the production.

When they sang, “Seasons of Love,” “No Day but Today,” and “La Vie Boheme” the audience could feel the sensational vibe and energy resonating from the stage.

“Rent” was expected to have a full house the whole five runs since it drew attention from the beginning.

During the intermission, 50/50 raffle tickets were drawn out and the money raised from the event went to Shannon’s S.H.A.R.E., a foundation that helps children with leukemia find bone marrow transplants.

Shannon Tavares was a 10-year-old Broadway actress staring in “The Lion King” who passed away from leukemia two years ago.

“One of our founders and former directors Kaitlin Gould was a good friend and summer camp counselor or Shannon,” said Jurman. “This foundation is very important for us.”

The money from tickets went straight to Student Association to pay for the theater rental space bill.

Those who missed the show still had their chance to see the sneak peak of “Rent.”

UAlbany Musical Theatre Association performed selections from the musical at UAlbany Day at Empire State Plaza on Monday, Feb 4.