Corbin Farrell in Hayfield Secondary School’s production of musical “Rent.”
A year in the life of friends may be measured in daylights, sunsets, and cups of coffee, but the talent and dedication seen in Hayfield Secondary School's production of “Rent” was immeasurable.
Based on Giacomo Puccini's opera “La Boheme,” "Rent" is a rock musical with book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Premiering in 1996 in the New York Theatre Workshop, "Rent" went on to Broadway in the same year. After 5,123 performances over the span of 12 years, "Rent" closed in 2008.
The story starts on Christmas Eve with Mark Cohen, a struggling filmmaker, as he documents life on Avenue B with his roommate, Roger Davis. Mark, dealing with a recent breakup, and Roger, coming to terms with his recently diagnosed HIV, face eviction. As the two seek meaning in life, they struggle, alongside their friends, with emotion, devotion, and causing a commotion.
Roger, played by Jackson Miller, and Mimi played by Trish Hoang, lit a spark in their duet "Light My Candle." Jackson Miller, a standout actor, ensured every song was a "one song glory" with his vocal expertise. Mark (Corbin Farrell) and Joanne (Hallie Strelsky) maintained a spiteful yet good-natured chemistry, evident during "Tango: Maureen." As the two bonded over the unfaithful Maureen, they tangoed cleanly. Shannon Flack reached for the stars, and then jumped over the moon, in her role as Maureen. She brought an irreplaceable energy as she pouted playfully or protested dramatically.
A true light of the cast, Max von Kolnitz, played the lovable and bright character of Angel. Max executed high energy twirls, impressive vocals, and poise to bring the drag queen role to life. The relationship of Angel (von Kolnitz) and Tom Collins (Marek Brown) proved captivating and caring. No matter where the scene's focus was, Angel and Collins held hands and shared loving glances. After Angel's tragic passing in Act Two, Marek Brown notably used visual expressions to transition from calm to heartbroken.
Beautifully professional, the set immaculately encompassed New York "at the end of the millennium." A telephone booth, a harvest moon, and old rock and roll posters adorned the set's levels and scaffolding. Stacked televisions played clips of the friends laughing together, bringing a creative touch to the show. Overall, space was greatly used, and complemented by lighting. When Angel flounced on stage, Christmas lights glittered to match his energy. In addition, blackouts and crisp lights helped introduce memorable moments, such as the dazzling snowfall during "Christmas Bells."
Perhaps most impressive of Hayfield's production of "Rent" was the sophistication and maturity each cast member displayed, which can often be a challenge for the themes portrayed in the script. The entire ensemble came together and connected, building an honest and genuine show, indisputably throughout the knockout number "Seasons of Love."
The musical "Rent" sends the message to remember love, and you'll have no trouble remembering Hayfield Secondary School's production.