Northwestern Theatre and Dance to present “Rent”

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance will present the musical “Rent” Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 and Oct. 6-11 in Theatre West. Performance time is 7:30 p.m. except for a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 11. Pia Wyatt is the director.

Tickets are $15, $12 for children and seniors and Northwestern State, BPCC@nsu and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D. A “Five for Fifty” package allowing patrons to see each show for $10 or buy five tickets for one show for $50 is available. For ticket information, call (318) 357-4218 or (318) 357-4483.

Based loosely on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” the play 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 under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Set in the East Village of New York City in the early 1990s, “Rent” is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today.

The play is recommended for mature audiences only.

“‘Rent’ is about living for today and seizing the opportunity in front of you,” said Wyatt. “Most people think rent is just what you pay to live, but the dictionary defines it as ‘to take or hold.’ It can mean holding what is dear to your heart. The play deals with heartbreak, homelessness, poverty and finding a way in the world,”

Members of the cast are Alexia Mullally of Pearland, Texas, Luke Matherne, Chase Miller and Holli Conway of Monroe, C.J. Anderson and Marissa McMickens of Pineville, Annie Dauzat of Baton Rouge, Austin Pecot of Luling, Taylor Smith of Leesville, DeAngelo Renard of Mandevillle, Jessi Miller of Mansfield, Michael Carrier of Lafayette, Grace Brumfield of Prairieville, Breanna Collier of Bossier City and Alyssa Farmer and Christian Dantes of Shreveport. Many of the cast members will play multiple roles.

“Rent” also deals with the struggle of the AIDS epidemic which was a major issue in the 90s before many of the cast members were born.

“The play has raised awareness about AIDS among the cast and crew,” said Wyatt. “Hopefully we can both educate and entertain the audience at the same time.”

The 2015-16 Theatre and Dance schedule includes an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on Nov. 5 – 7 and 12 – 14 at the Normal Hill Columns, “Illumination of Dance” on Feb. 18 – 20 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium, “Really, Really” on March 9 – 13 and 16 – 19 in Theatre West and “Oklahoma” on April 20-24 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.

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