Slice of Life

‘Rent’ celebrates 20th anniversary with edgy, emotional performance

ourtesy of Famous Artists

"Rent" the 20th Anniversary Tour opened in Syracuse Tuesday starring two SU alumni.

Tears and emotions flowed Tuesday night as a group of impoverished artists celebrated a Bohemian lifestyle onstage at the Oncenter.

Considered one of the most edgy musicals of all time, “Rent” celebrated its 20th anniversary with a stage production that could rival the original Broadway production staged in 1996.

A rock musical written by Jonathan Larson, “Rent” draws inspiration from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème.” The story revolves around eight individuals living in New York City’s East Village, as they battle AIDS, addiction and poverty.

Each member of the cast was a perfect match for the character they played. Also in the cast were two Syracuse University alumni, Danny Harris Kornfeld, who played the roles of independent filmmaker Mark Cohen, and Katie LaMark, who played activist and performer Maureen Johnson.

Kornfeld was commended for fitting portrayal of Mark, not only by family and friends who came to support him, but by first-timers watching the show as well. LaMark also left the audience wowed by her energetic performance and elaborate performance of “Over the Moon,” during which she encouraged the audience to join her in mooing like a cow. LaMark also gave a well-choreographed performance of “Take Me or Leave Me” along with Joanne Jefferson, lawyer and girlfriend of Maureen, portrayed by Jasmine Easler.

Members of the audience were left spellbound as they laughed, cried and sympathized with the struggles the characters were going through.

The biggest applause of the night went to David Merino’s portrayal of the drag queen Angel. Audience applauded and whistled as Merino performed Angel’s iconic song “I’ll Cover You,” and cried when the rest of the cast sang “Goodbye Love” as a tribute after the death of Merino’s character.

The elaborately structured set, and the presence of the band on stage complemented the charm of the musical, especially when the entire cast performed one of the highest energy songs of the musical “La Vie Bohème.”

While some came to enjoy the musical for what it was, for others it served as a way of escaping the stress of college.

“I haven’t seen a show in months. It was the perfect break to get ready to go home. It really reminded me of home,” said Michael Bonavita, a Freshmen advertising major. “It reminded me that there are things outside of campus, which for a freshman is really hard to believe sometimes.”

Overall, the show was a hit. It delivered what it had promised, something Sandra Pichatto, a retired teacher agreed with.

“I thought it was exhilarating. It was really really…edge of your seat the whole time. Great voices, excellent quality, great set,” Pichatto said.

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