The Best of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rent

There is “No Day But Today” to discover the show that took Broadway by storm.

After sell-out performances, rave reviews, and standing ovations, the multi-Tony Award-winning rock musical by Jonathan Larson, RENT, opened last night in Melbourne at the Arts Centre, State Theatre.

Step into the vibrant streets of New York City’s East Village, where dreams are born, friendships are tested, and the power of love prevails against all odds. Featuring the iconic songs “Seasons of Love,” “Take Me or Leave Me,” and “La Vie Bohème,” this ground-breaking phenomenon is more than a musical; it’s a celebration of life, love, and the human spirit.

RENT is a powerful musical with a very important storyline that deals with heavy themes not for the faint of heart. It’s advised to pack tissues for the emotional moments that will surely leave a lasting impact. The vocal performances in this production are incredibly powerful, delivering the emotional depth required for this challenging narrative. The staging is creative, successfully recreating the grunge style of the Bohemian New York lifestyle, immersing the audience in the vibrant streets of the East Village.

Director Shaun Rennie, musical director Andrew Worboys, and choreographer Luca Dinardo have assembled some of Australia’s finest singer/actors for this all-new production of the iconic musical. Noah Mullins (West Side Story) shines as Mark, a struggling documentary filmmaker, while Jerrod Smith (The Lovers) delivers a poignant performance as Roger, a HIV-positive musician recovering from heroin addiction. Martha Berhane (Hamilton) brings a raw energy to the role of Mimi, the spirited performance artist, and Calista Nelmes (Jersey Boys NZ) impresses with her portrayal of the esoteric Maureen, Mark’s ex-girlfriend and current girlfriend of Joanne. Philosophy teacher Collins, played by Nick Afoa (Miss Saigon), and Carl De Villa’s (Kinky Boots) portrayal of Angel are standout performances, capturing the heart and soul of their characters.

One of the highlights of the production is the incredible live band, adding a dynamic energy to the performance. The band’s musicianship is top-notch, perfectly complementing the vocal performances and bringing Jonathan Larson’s iconic score to life.

The design aesthetic of RENT is a visual feast, capturing the gritty yet artistic essence of New York’s East Village in the 1990s. The set design transports the audience to the streets of the city, while the costumes reflect the eclectic and bohemian style of the characters. Lighting and sound design enhance the emotional depth of the story, creating a truly immersive experience.

Jonathan Larson’s RENT opened Off-Broadway in 1996 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The show earned Larson multiple Tony Awards along with a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a distinction not received again by a music theatre work until 14 years later. Though Larson himself never saw the impact of his masterwork – he died suddenly in the early hours of the day the show opened to the public – its longevity serves as a testament to the emotional resonance of his creation and an embodiment of its ever-present message “no day but today.”

There is “No Day But Today” to discover the show that took Broadway by storm.

The Details:

  • Now playing at the Arts Centre, State Theatre until March 7.
  • For more information or to book tickets, check out: rentmusical.au
  • Written by Michael Kent
  • Photography by Pia Johnson