Live Theatre

“RENT” – Old Town Temecula Community Theater

Rent is a rock opera based on La Bohème, the 1896 opera by Giacomo Puccini. Its modernized story and original music were written by Jonathan Larson, and changed the locale from the original opera’s Latin Quarter of 19th century Paris to modern-day New York’s Lower East Side.

The updated storyline also changes the plague of Tuberculosis to AIDS, which afflicts most of the characters. Rent tells the story of a close-knit group of young, struggling artists as they fight to survive in a difficult environment, discover love, fear their disease, and ultimately feel the pain and sorrow of loss as those they love are taken away by the disease.

In its Broadway debut year of 1996, Rent was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning four, including Best Musical. In the same year, Rent also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Over 12 years later, in 2008, Rent finally ended its run on Broadway, acheiving the 7th-longest-run of any show ever on Broadway.

Photo by Steven Allen

It’s no secret that the theater productions within the Temecula Valley had been historically conservative until the past few years, when shows such as Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Vagina Monologues, Rumors, and now Rent have brought more mature and perhaps controversial topics to this valley’s stages. In the case of Rent, however, the central topic of the story is one that many at the theater on this night proclaimed “needed to be told”. Without giving away any specific parts of the story, there are moments in this show that take you from the heights of laughter to the depths of sadness, and anyone without a heart of stone would feel the tears welling up as Tom Collins (excellently portrayed by Temecula actor, Paul Kehler) beautifully sings the reprise of I’ll Cover You.

Photo by Steven Allen

Other lead performers in Rent include Zack Wolfe as Mark Cohen, Rustin Sailors as Roger Davis, Trisha Mae Banquerigo as Mimi Marquez, Danielle Levas as Maureen Johnson, Coreena Mulloy as Joanne Jefferson, Zack Crocker as Angel Schunard, and Willie May as Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III.  I’ll just say now that this article would be ten times as lengthy if I were allowed to rave all I wanted to about how good the singing was in this production. There is some serious, professional-level talent in this little community theater of ours.

Photo by Steven Allen

After the performance on Friday, May 14th, I pretty much tossed my video camera into my wife’s hands with no prior warning (or training) and grabbed some unsuspecting theater-goers to get their own views of the local production of Rent, as well as some insight from a few of the cast members and director, J. Scott Lapp himself.

Overall, I would say that this is one of the best theater performances that I have personally had the pleasure to see on the Old Town Temecula Community Theater stage, and I’ve been to quite a few shows here (and even been in a couple myself). The subject matter is not suitable for young children, so this would be a great show to see for a date night!
Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 7:30pm
Friday, May 14, 2010 at 7:30pm
Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 2:00pm and 6:00pm
Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 7:30pm
Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:30pm
Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:00pm
Friday and Saturday evenings:$28 Orchestra$23 Parterre/Balcony
Thursday nights, Saturday/Sunday matinees and Sunday evenings:$25 Orchestra$20 Parterre/Balcony
Discounts available for Seniors/Student and Military on Thursday evening performances.

3 thoughts on ““RENT” – Old Town Temecula Community Theater

  1. Nice writeup Loren… And great video! You got some major skills behind and in front of the camera! Our friend Paul was mostly reason for going to see the show, but we are pumped now!


  2. My nephew is in RENT and plays “Angel” and I was inspired with the performances given by him and all the cast. This was an amazing play and if I could go back every night it plays over the next few weeks, I absolutely would.
    What a great ensemble this cast is…the chemistry is amazing. It is awesome to sit in the crowd and feel the emotions and energy coming from that stage. I may be a little bias, but Angel rocked those mary-janes like no other while dancing and singing and jumping off tables and spinning and…….well go see it and you’ll understand.
    I am so excited I was able to see this in the theater setting it was in. We were front row center and I would have paid 5 times what the ticket prices were to get such amazing seats. From what I saw, there was not a bad seat in the house, regardless. Thank you Old Town Temecula Community Theater for bringing it to your stage and a special thank you to the cast for such awe-inspiring performances.


  3. I’m so thrilled to watch RENT again and it was a surprised on my 73rd. B’day. It was so awesome/BRAVO to Cast/crews/staffs, bec. they presented the message in this modern time of technology and the YOUTH can really learn, so we can really work hard to understand the problems/struggles — which is REALITY of our 24 hrs. of JOYS/PAINS of daily living — they really go into it with passion and the interaction was UNIQUE, especially with such a local stage with music/they sure ROCK and make us all awake, I did at my age – believe.

    I’m so proud of them all, bec. each one gives it all/the beauty is that the lesson/message came out good to any age, I do say, since I love the action and drama, being ALIVE — thanks, I’m coming SUNDAY, again — God’s willing.


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