Home Leisure & Sports RENT and La Bohème come to TPAC this month 

RENT and La Bohème come to TPAC this month 

by Cass Teague
Michelle Johnson

Twenty-six years ago, the late Jonathan Larson’s musical RENT took Broadway by storm, ushering in a new era of the musical form. Based on the story of La Bohème and updated to late-1980s New York City, the show ran twelve years on Broadway. By a complete fluke the Nashville Rep and the Nashville Opera will be occupying TPAC this month with both shows at the same time. And as a bonus, if you purchase tickets to both shows on the same order through TPAC, you’ll receive a 15% discount on BOTH tickets.

Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to open its 22/23 season with Jonathan Larson’s renowned musical, RENT at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater, 505 Deaderick Street, from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 26, 2022. For ticket and show time information, visit www.nashvillerep.org

“We are excited to open our 38th season with one of the world’s most popular musicals. RENT has thrilled audiences worldwide, and the Rep’s Nashville-based cast, filled with both familiar and new performers, is extraordinary,” said Drew Ogle, Executive Director of Nashville Rep. 

For a quarter of a century, Jonathan Larson’s Rent has inspired us to choose love over fear and to live without regret. RENT is about falling in love, finding your voice, and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, RENT has become a pop cultural phenomenon, with songs that rock and a story that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s RENT follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical.RENT features book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, musical arrangements by Steve Skinner, and original concept/additional lyrics by Billy Aronson.

Flora Hawk

“At the heart of RENT is a group of people yearning for a community and searching for connection. The past two plus years of pandemic life has felt, at times, very isolating and uneasy. This period in our lives has left us to grapple with a sense of disconnect and a profound sense of loss. A loss of time. A loss of art. A loss of community,” says director Micah-Shane Brewer. “These characters teach us how to face these challenges and live, because, as a song in the show says, we have no day but today!”

Nashville Rep’s production of RENT will star Wood Van Meter as Mark Cohen, Mike Sallee, Jr. as Roger Davis, Natalie Rankin as Maureen Johnson, Deonté L. Warren as Angel Dumott Schunard, Carli Hardon as Joanne Jefferson, Justin Marriel Boyd as Benjamin Coffin III, and making their Nashville Rep debuts: Marena Lucero as Mimi Marquez and Lando Hawkins as Tom Collins. RENT also features as ensemble including Delaney Amatrudo, Molly Brown, Dustin Davis, Piper Jones, Dustin Lafleur, Calvin Malone, Rachel Meinhart, and Gregor Patti. 

Micah-Shane Brewer returns as director after the record-breaking success of last year’s Disney’s Mary Poppins! Joining him includes Musical Director Randy Craft and Tosha Marie as choreographer. The creative team for RENT includes scenic by Gary C. Hoff, costumes by Skyler Glaser, lighting by Michael Barnett, sound by Jacob Allen, video/projections by Kyle Odum & Sam Lowry, stage management by Isaac Krispin, and props by Abigail Nichol.

RENT launches Nashville Repertory Theatre’s 2022-2023 season. The rest of the season includes the Nashville premiere of The Cake October 21 – 30, 2022; the joyous holiday production of Elf The Musical December 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023; one of the greatest American plays of all time August Wilson’s Fences March 3 -5, 2023; the stage adaption of the beloved novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time March 24 – April 2, 2023; and closing the season with the intimate musical Violet May 12 -21, 2023. For Nashville Repertory 2022- 23 season tickets and showtime information, visit www.nashvillerep.org or www.tpac.org

For a record sixth time in Nashville Opera history, Mimì and Rodolfo will fall in love under the moonlight shining through the frosted windows of the Bohemians’ garret apartment. You’ll fall in love all over again with Puccini’s timeless tale of young love and unforgettable friendships. The 2022 production of La Bohème leads off the 22/23 Ann & Frank Bumstead Season and marks the return of Peter Harrison’s sumptuous set, made possible by The Three of Us Foundation.

“If there is a perfect opera, it might just be La Bohème,” says John Hoomes. “Every note seems right in place, every emotion in tune with the character and situations. Giacomo Puccini’s gift for ardent melody brings the love story to life, and his skill at controlling the orchestra matchlessly creates the atmosphere—from the flash of brasses that conjures up Christmas Eve’s festivity to the shivering strings that capture the chill of a dawn amid the snow.

Allen Michael Jones

“When Puccini wrote La Bohème, he was well past the struggling- artist stage of his life. Though only 34, the success of his third opera, Manon Lescaut, had brought him both funds and celebrity. When he bought his retreat in Torre del Lago, he soon populated it with a band of friends who were bohemian in spirit at least. (Bylaws of their club included an oath to “eat well and drink better!”)

“If he were working today, Puccini might have done well with a laptop in the whirl of a coffee house. Unlike other composers, he preferred to write as his cronies carried on drinking and laughing in the next room. In fact, if they got quiet, he didn’t like it! This is the spirit that animates much of Bohème.

“However, the work of creating this magnificent opera wasn’t all light. Puccini, known for giving his librettists fits, spent three arduous years on Bohème. Verses were written and rewritten, whole scenes were thrown out, and the plot was changed again and again. Particular tension arose among the collaborators over the last act—when the tragedy of Mimi’s hopeless illness pushes aside the frivolity once and for all. But, as genius is the art of taking pains, Puccini’s work approaches perfection!

“We hope you’re planning to join us for La Bohème, September 22 and 24 in Jackson Hall. Thanks to the generosity of The Three of Us Foundation, Nashville Opera was fortunate to build its own sparkling scenery for the opera in 2014. From the artists’ loft to the outdoor cafes, it’s timeless Paris by scenic designer Peter Harrison, and we’re delighted to share it with you again paired with creative new costumes by Susan Memmott Allred.

“For over 100 years now, audiences have laughed together at the antics of the young bohemians, and wept as one when Mimi takes her final breath. La Bohème always been a favorite of mine, and we’re thrilled to be opening the 2022-23 Ann and Frank Bumstead Season with such a masterpiece.”

La Bohème will bring many new faces to the Nashville Opera stage. Four of the seven principals are making their company debut with this production and we’re proud to have two former Mary Ragland Emerging Artists in the cast. The cast includes three African Americans: Michelle Johnson as Mimì, Allen Michael Jones as Colline, and Flora Hawk as Musetta.

La Bohème will be performed September 22 and 24, 2022, in Andrew Jackson Hall at 7:30 p.m. TPAC.org is the only official online source for tickets to TPAC events. Or, by phone, call TPAC Ticket Sales at 615-782-4040 Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT

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