Rent, the Tony and Pulitzer-winning Broadway musical, will come to St. Paul's Ordway Theatre, with an opening scheduled for June 8.
Now in Boston for a limited engagement that's already been extended to (at least) April, that production will most likely come to Minnesota intact for its midwest premiere. Even if Boston sales continue to be strong, the show will move to Minneapolis and then possibly come back, rather than stay in Boston while another company forms in St. Paul.
Tickets for the Ordway production, which begins previews June 5, went onsale March 17 and racked up a record first-day tally of $943,671 (beating the Feb. 1995 Show Boat gross by over $60,000). Rent producer Jeffrey Seller said he was "thrilled by the support the Twin Cities has shown for the production." That support has translated to an extension of the show's run there, from an original closing July 20 to a final date of Aug. 17.
For tickets ($25-$60) and information on Rent at St. Paul's Ordway Music Theatre, call (612) 224-4222.
Kevin McCollum, one of Rent's producers and C.E.O. of the Ordway, told Playbill On-Line he's very excited about the St. Paul engagement at "the Lincoln Center of the Midwest," which was built in 1985 at a cost of $43 million and has 1,900 seats. Though Michael Greif directs the Boston/St. Paul Rent, and will also direct the LaJolla Playhouse opening July 13, the two productions are not connected. However, the LaJolla production is scheduled to move to Los Angeles, with previews beginning Sept. 16 and opening Sept. 24.
McCollum is traveling to London next week (Jan. 12) to finalize a production there. He's confident both London and Toronto will have Rent productions up before the end of 1997.
McCollum told The Associated Press that the St. Paul production will be the first test of the show in America's heartland. He told Playbill On-Line he's very proud of the show, and is happy so many people are talking online about it. "It's wonderful that people are getting excited about theatre again."
Jonathan Larson's rock musical, which began Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, is about eclectic youth struggling in New York's East Village. It opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre April 29, 1996.
In NY Rent news, rumors that Jesse Martin will be leaving the show are not true and probably caused by the fact that Martin took two and a half weeks off to shoot a TV pilot (titled "413") for Daman Wayans' production group at Fox. Martin was understudied by Mark Leroy Jackson. The rumors also may have stemmed from the news that Daphne Rubin-Vega will be leaving the show April 5 to take a movie role.
--By David Lefkowitz