Popular musical ‘Rent’ at The Smith Center falls short of glory

Forget regret.

That’s what the youthful bohemians of “Rent” sing, in defiance of poverty, the political establishment, personal angst, looming doom.

It’s apt advice, especially when considering the 20th anniversary tour of the landmark musical, which continues at The Smith Center through Sunday.

Writer-composer Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning spin on “La Boheme” — which transports Puccini’s young artistes of 19th century Paris to New York City’s East Village “at the end of the millennium” — remains a lively and affecting portrait of starry-eyed dreamers confronting, and defying, the inevitable slings and arrows of existence.

Yet what once proved so gripping, and groundbreaking, seems a trifle quaint today. That’s what happens to any of-the-moment sensation when its breakthrough moment passes.

Look beyond its dated elements, though — from pay phones to answering machines to HIV-positive status being an automatic death sentence — and “Rent’s” essential relevance endures.

Issues from homelessness and urban gentrification to artistic integrity versus selling out remain undeniably timely. And we still understand, all too well, what aspiring filmmaker Mark (Sammy Ferber) means when he observes that “real life’s getting more like fiction every day.”

Mark serves as “Rent’s” unofficial narrator, introducing his fellow dwellers of New York’s gritty Alphabet City. There’s his roommate and best friend Roger (Kaleb Wells), a wannabe rocker still struggling to move past his girlfriend’s suicide. Mark’s ex-girlfriend Maureen (Lyndie Moe), an over-the-top performance artist, has taken up with Joanne (Jasmine Easler), an attorney not quite at home — yet — among the artsy set.

Also on the scene: Mark and Roger’s former roommate Collins (Devinre Adams played the role opening night), a philosophical academic who falls into the path, and under the spell, of the aptly named Angel (Aaron Alcaraz), an endearingly sassy street drummer.

And, of course, there’s exotic dancer Mimi (Skyler Volpe) — sex kitten on the outside, scared kitten on the inside — who just might be able to pull Roger out of his existential funk. Assuming, of course, that Mimi can keep her own demons at bay.

Larson’s eclectic rock score remains as vital and inventive as ever (sample beguiling rhyme: “curry vindaloo” and “Maya Angelou”) and the performers deliver it in solid, if not always soul-deep, style.

Working from original director Michael Greif’s template, tour director Evan Ensign keeps things moving — sometimes to the point of rushing, thereby undermining “Rent’s” considerable emotional impact.

That’s especially problematic during the second act, when all too real anguish replaces tortured-artist preoccupations, forcing “Rent’s” characters to confront death as well as life.

As a result, this “Rent” misses its full potential, emerging more as a collection of moments than as a cohesive, transcendent and transformative whole.

But forget regret — and concentrate on the strengths of “Rent” that remain.

Preview

What: “Rent”

When: 7:30 p.m. through Sunday; also 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where:Reynolds Hall, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave.

Tickets: $36-$127 (if available), plus $21 rush tickets at the box office two hours before each performance (thesmithcenter.com)

Grade: B-

Contact Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.comor 702-383-0272. Follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Get a sneak peak of Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like