Monday, July 4, 2011

In the Wings: Rent. Meet Julia Colby.

Julia Colby directs 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 direct RENT?
Julia Colby: RENT is very special to me. It came to me right after it won the Tony in 1996. A friend shared it with me when I was having a difficult time personally. I am a big proponent of love prevailing over all else, that if you are a loving person you cannot go wrong. Jonathan Larson did a fabulous job of portraying and sharing that.

Q: When and where does the action begin?
J.C.: We are in Alphabet City, New York City on Christmas Eve, 1994. We are years away from riots in the area, before 9/11, before Giuliani cleaned up the city. People were dying of AIDS at an alarming rate. Candace Gingrich - Newt Gingrich's half-sister - had just come out, bringing a new light to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community and the issue of their rights and place in society. It's a very dark time, but Jonathan Larson's work is all about the love and connection these characters are finding.

Q: What are RENT's lyrics and music like?
J.C.: RENT is a modern rock opera. There's a little more rock music than Jesus Christ Superstar or Hair, which were avant-garde when they came out. That makes it more accessible. Between the characters and how human they are as well as the music, it creates a very unique piece.

Q: What will an audience remember most about a performance of RENT?
J.C.: As a director, I'm happy and blessed with the amount of talent in this cast. The cast has some of the most powerful singers I've ever had the pleasure of meeting let alone working with. Working with them in this powerful show is very exciting. The audience will remember the performances, definitely. But the piece itself has such a powerful message and energy to it that they'll be energized having seen the show.

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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