“Rent:” still no day but today

The National Tour of
The National Tour of "Rent"

New Jersey actor Javon King was outstanding

The State Theatre in New Brunswick finished up its Broadway series with the 20th anniversary touring production of Rent. The 1996 Tony Award-winning musical, set in the early 1990s, looked at the lives of Bohemian artists, homeless people, and HIV-positive people in the East Village section of Manhattan.

New Jersey's own Javon King plays Angel in the National Tour of "Rent"
New Jersey’s own Javon King plays Angel in the National Tour of “Rent”

This production relied on the Jonathan Larson score for its energy at the start while the characters’ romantic relationships were being defined. It kicked into high gear with drag queen Angel’s sassy rendition of “Today 4 U” and high-energy performances by the cast of such familiar numbers as “La Vie Boheme,” a celebration of life in defiance of the shadow of AIDS; “I’ll Cover You,” a tender song of devotion; and the show’s anthem, “Seasons of Love.”

Director Evan Ensign did a fine job recreating the original direction of Michael Greif, assisted by choreographer Marlies Yearby. Outstanding performances among the large and talented cast were given by Javon King as Angel, Lyndie Moe as performance artist Maureen, and Joshua Bess and Deri’andra Tucker as star-crossed lovers Roger and Mimi.

New Jersey's own Javon King plays Angel in the National Tour of "Rent"
New Jersey’s own Javon King plays Angel in the National Tour of “Rent”

Rent played April 2- 4 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The only reasonably close stop on the tour will be in Hershey, PA on April 23rd at the Hershey Theatre. For more information on the tour of Rent, go to www.rentontour.net.

The new Broadway series at the State Theatre starts this fall with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, November 8-10, followed by The Spongebob Musical, November 29-December 1; Jersey Boys, December 3-4; Fiddler on the Roof, December 20-22; The Color Purple, January 30-February 1; The Play That Goes Wrong, April 2-4; Cats, May 8-10; and Once on This Island, June 5- 7. For more information about all coming attractions at the State Theatre, go to State Theatre.

Allen Neuner
Allen Neuner is the theater reviewer at Out in Jersey magazine. Jersey born and raised, Allen went to his first Broadway play in 1957 and has been deliriously in love with live theater ever since. Allen has been accepted into the American Theatre Critics Association, a professional organization of theatre journalists. He has been partnered to music reviewer Bill Realman Stella, with whom he is also deliriously in love, for over 20 years. They live in an over-cluttered house in Somerville.