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  Rent at American Theater Company


American Theater Company
1909 W Byron Chicago

East Village. 1990. American Theater Company teams up with About Face Theatre to create a fresh look at Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning rock opera. At the end of the 1980’s, a group of Bohemian artists struggle to find life, love and art in a brutal economy and the height of the AIDS crisis. Director David Cromer will bring a staggering reality to this landmark musical.

Thru - Jul 1, 2012

Wednesdays: 8:00pm
Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Price: $10-$50

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-409-4125

Running Time: 2hrs, 40mins; one intermission

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  Rent Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...A crucial thread of its fabric lies in the contrast between the toughness of these characters' lives and the gorgeous, soaring music they sing. This production features a raft of principals, with only a couple of exceptions, who consistently struggle with its musical demands. And when actors are wandering off key or losing each other, whatever else you may or may not be doing with your "Rent" money becomes joltingly tertiary."
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Chris Jones

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Under the direction of David Cromer, movement is choreographed for 360-degree visibility and body-mikes ensure audibility in all corners of the house (or will, once the op-night bugs have been ironed out of the brand-new—and manifestly improved—tech system), while wagons, hand-held spotlights, portable speakers trailed by miles of extension cord and other scenic furniture is wheeled in at a vigorous gallop only to disappear just as speedily. The play's dramatic progress also reflects the requisite urgency, its often-stilted recitative endowed by a pumped-up cast with an appealing conviction spurring the fourth-wall breakdown contributing to this show's well-documented cult following. As the weather warms, look for it to draw first-time converts (like me) and revitalized pilgrims alike."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...First among equals in the balls-out cast are Alan Schmuckler’s mini mensch filmmaker Mark, Aileen May’s jagged crusader Maureen and Esteban Andres Cruz’s streetwise genderfucker Angel. But for full-ensemble joy, look to the unadorned, melisma-free rendition of “Seasons of Love” that opens Act II. Go ahead and sign the lease, pookie; this Rent’s got all the amenities you need."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"... During its 12-year Broadway run, “Rent” survived numerous cast changes in 5,123 performances and became set in its groove. What a singular thing it is, then, to witness this musical become new again. That’s what’s going on with director David Cromer’s intimate version of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” now playing at American Theater Co. in collaboration with About Face Theatre. This is an ambitious production that puts you at street-level and bedside, so close you are practically inside the heads of Roger and Mark, the musician and the videographer, whose art seems to emerge spontaneously from what they’re observing and feeling."
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Nancy Malitz

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Cromer remains faithful to Rent’s spirit, but he has also illuminated individual scenes to emphasize their emotional impact and sometimes their comedy. He’s freshened up the musical numbers, assisted by Jessica Redish’s lively and distinctive choreography. The crowd scenes are especially vibrant, topped by the long “La Vie Boheme” scene that ends the first act."
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Dan Zeff

Chicago Stage Standard - Not Recommended

"...Not crazy about the lighting or sound, there was a lot of background noise and not a lot of close up lighting and it was hard to tell who was singing at some points. The favorites and well known songs where the ensemble sang were decent, such as "Seasons of Love" and "La Vie Boheme," but "No Day But Today" was the best song and the most powerful of the show. Maybe I was excited because it was ending. I did not like this production and found it a bit painful to hear all the off-key harmonies trying to get it together."

Sally Jo Osborne

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Director David Cromer stages the show with depth –figuratively and width-literally. The emotional action is horizontally stretched across the theatre. The audience is seated on two parallel sides. I’m seated at floor level. On occasion, the proximity is very close. In fact, Roger basically tucked a discarded shoe prop underneath my chair. I could have scooted my chair into the group therapy scene. And when the lesbian couple fought, I felt uncomfortably intrusive. This RENT is at its best with these profoundly personal moments. It’s this kind of ongoing intimacy that is missing consistently by Cromer’s set-up. Powerful scenes lose something taking place on the endcaps of the large stage space. Four structural poles obstruct the view. And the audience connection is momentarily severed depending on your viewpoint."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...“RENT” is a rock version of “Puccini’s “La Boheme” with the story being moved to the 90′s, struggling artists during an economic depression- they are hungry, cold and many had no idea if they would have a place to sleep. They are creative, and yet there is no audience for this creativity. This was also a time when the AIDS epidemic was making news. Many of us are unaware of what these problems really are, only what we read and see on TV and movies ( for the most part) and Larson made us more aware of this. This new production by ATC and About Face reminds us of what is happening even today, in major cities- many are without jobs ( not just artists) and live from day to day. “RENT” is still happening and even the “RENT” followers who don’t like change will find something new to think about in this production."
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Alan Bresloff

Huffington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"... Now, I've never been a fan of Rent. Rather than boring you with why, I'll say this wildly uneven production didn't change my opinion. Direct David Cromer has staged the show in the center of an audience divided. Sure, this would be a great idea, if so many core scenes weren't staged in oddly placed corners concealed by the warehouse space's eye-blocking structural beams. The singing throughout, aside from a few exceptions, is nervous making (Derrick Trumbly, who plays Roger, seemed to have the most noticeable vocal issues and relied on falsetto when Larson's score screams for power-belting). Distracting sound issues (more than once the wrong mic was on and I could hear backstage sneezing and ruffling about) didn't help things."
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Bob Bullen

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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