The groundbreaking Broadway musical “Rent” is coming to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, 453 Northampton St., Easton, for two performances, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 and 13, as part of the show’s “25th Anniversary Farewell Tour.”
Inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera “La Bohème,” Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and on New York’s Lower Manhattan’s East Village in the days of a thriving bohemian Alphabet City under the shadow of AIDS.
The Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning show follows a year in the lives of a group of artists and friends attempting to follow their dreams.
“Rent” had its world premiere off-Broadway in 1996 to enthusiastic reviews and transferred to Broadway shortly after. “Rent” won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The musical has been translated into every major language and has been performed in 27 nations on six continents.
Many popular songs have come from the show, including “Seasons of Love,” “La Vie Bohème” and “Without You.”
Tours of “Rent” have crossed the United States almost continuously for 25 years, with the latest tour playing five nations and 237 cities. The tour was suspended in 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown.
Director Evan Ensign has re-staged the tour based on the original Broadway direction by Michael Greif.
The cast features Cody Jenkins (Mark), Coleman Cummings (Roger), Aiyana Smash (Mimi), Lyndie Moe (Maureen), Rayla Garske (Joanne) and Javon King (Angel).
Tickets: www.statetheatre.org, 610-252-3132
Touchstone “Follies Double Feature”:
Touchstone Theatre of Bethlehem had to cancel the final two weekends of the three-week run of its popular holiday-themed vaudeville show “Christmas City Follies XXII” because of positive COVID-19 tests among the cast.
The show was to run Dec. 2-19, but its final performance was Dec. 5.
Touchstone is offering “Follies Double Feature” online through Jan. 10.
The program on Touchstone’s YouTube channel features two versions of “Follies”: the 2020 “Follies” movie and archival footage of this year’s show. There is no charge to view but donations will be accepted.
Touchstone has rescheduled “Follies XXII” July 8 and 9 as “Christmas in July,” Barrio Stage, theater parking lot, with cookies, cider and caroling.
“Christmas City Follies XXII,” directed by Touchstone Theatre Artistic Director Jp Jordan, brings back Touchstone audience favorites such as Bill George’s Old Guy, Mary Wright’s Little Red and a new incarnation of the shopping cart ballet. New skits include Joseph and Mary getting lost in Bethlehem, a public service announcement about climate change with a polar bear “bearlesque” and environmentally-conscious superhero Tommy Apocalypse (Bill George).
The “Christmas City Follies XXII” ensemble includes Samantha Beedle, Jessica Boothe, Sara Group, Krystal Hall, Abbie-Jean Litman, Robert Mills, Matt Prideaux and Sam Thompson.
Information: www.touchstone.org; 610-867-1689
“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, firstname.lastname@example.org