The East Village is dead. At the dawn of the 1990s, New York City’s East Village is home to an ever-diminishing bohemian community. Development pushes people from their borough, disease withers loved ones from their lives, and a group of friends fight for their place in the face of such quiet vanishing. One iconic city, one life-changing year, one astonishing masterpiece: RENT.
From October 8 this year, Highway Run Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co will declare squatter’s rights on Hayes Theatre Co’s 111-seat theatre and present a production in the spirit of those small beginnings. Musical theatre star Shaun Rennie (Cats, Mamma Mia, LOVEBiTES) makes his directorial debut and Andrew Worboys (Truth Beauty and a Picture of You, Love and Death and an American Guitar, Helpmann Award nominee for Best Musical Direction of Sweet Charity) will return to Hayes Theatre Co to musically direct.
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 very day the show opened to the public – its longevity serves as a testament to the emotional resonance of Larson’s creation and an embodiment of its ever-present message: “no day but today”.
“RENT at Hayes Theatre Co feels like an inevitability,” said producer Toby Francis. “It’s intimate and much closer to the kind of space it opened in, it feels like the place where RENT lives. So it wasn’t really a question of ‘if’, it was a question of ‘when’ and ‘who’. And we’re pretty excited that we get to be part of the ‘who’ in that sentence. And even more excited that the rest of the ‘who’ consists of a creative team that we’ve been lucky enough to have jump on board with this. To say they are incredible understates the calibre of work they are already doing.”
By Jonathan Larson
Produced by Highway Run Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co
Directed by Shaun Rennie
Musical Direction by Andrew Worboys
Choreography by Andrew Koblar
Set Design by Lauren Peters
Costume Design by Georgia Hopkins
Lighting Design by Ross Graham
Venue: Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point
Season: 8 October – 1 November 2015