Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In the Wings: Rent. Meet Dr. Twana A. Harris.

Dr. Twana A. Harris plays Joanne and is vocal director of RENT, the first production of the 2011-2012 season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The book, music and lyrics are by Jonathan Larson, based on Giacomo Puccini's La bohème.

Question: Why did you want to be part of RENT?
Dr. Twana A. Harris: RENT is absolutely my favorite musical in life because of the combination of the music, which is so emotional, and the story, which is about celebrating life. I saw it back in 2000 and I've been in love ever since. I desired to go to New York and audition for the show, but now I have this wonderful opportunity and I could not be any more excited than I am.

Q: How would you describe Joanne and what are her goals?
T.H.: Joanne is anal retentive, supportive, but also stubborn and headstrong. She wants to be supportive of Maureen, her girlfriend. Sometimes people who aren't oriented creatively desire to peek in that world and see what it's like. I can imagine that being a lawyer, Joanne is very straightforward and left-brain. Her girlfriend is an artist, so she wants to immerse herself in the community. She finds a family, but she also finds pieces of herself.

Q: What is it like working with the cast of RENT?
T.H.: This cast is amazing. Everybody is super-talented, Julia Colby is an excellent directress, Gail Deagan is killing those keys and it's just amazing seeing everyone grab this story. And because we're all so passionate about the story, we are respectful in the way we tell it. You can feel it in how we deliver our lines and how we sing our songs.

Q: What do you think an audience will most remember about a performance of RENT?
T.H.: They will always be mindful of celebrating their life and love and the people in their lives. They will want to come into deeper relationships and make those things the most important thing - not necessarily their jobs, but living and loving.

RENT will open Thursday, July 14 and run through July 16 at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater, 4449 ST RD 43 N, West Lafayette. Sunday, July 17 has been scheduled as a performance date if there are any rain outs. Performances begin at 9:00 p.m.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre's office at 765-423-7529 or visit Civic Theatre's website.

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