The Italian production of Jonathan Larson's award-winning musical Rent opens Feb. 4 for an eight-week run at Milan's Teatro Smeraldo before moving on to Bologna's Teatro delle Celebrazioni on March 30. The show is produced by Duke International, a society controlled by Luciano Pavarotti's young fiancée Nicoletta Mantovani and her friend Jenny Benedetti.
The musical -- loosely based on the opera La Boheme -- is co directed by Fabrizio Angelini and Michael Greif, who directed the original Broadway production for which he received nominations for the 1996 Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Jonathan Larson's lyrics have been translated in Italian by Michele Centonze.
Mantovani, who will marry Big Luciano as soon as his former wife Adua Veroni grants him divorce, is a newcomer to the world of theatre production. Her previous experiences include the organization of Pavarotti International, a live benefit gala broadcast worldwide, when Big Luciano performed alongside pop stars such as Mariah Carey, Boyzone, Zucchero and Joe Cocker. "I have fallen in love with Rent when I saw it together with Luciano in New York," she told reporters, "and we immediately decided to buy the rights to produce the show in Italy."
Luciano Pavarotti often played the role of Marcello in many productions of La Boheme around the world.
The cast is led by Michele Carfora who plays the role of Roger (he was last seen in Milan as Kenickie in Grease), Karima Machehour (Mimì) and Gabriele Foschi (Mark). Also starring are Francesca Taverni (Maureen), Roberta Faccani (Joanne), Laronte (Angel), Alan Mingo (Collins), Claudio Castrogiovanni (Benny), Michel Altieri (Mr. Jefferson), Graziana Borciani (Alexi Darling), Paolo Caiti (Gordon), Serafina Frassica (Mrs. Jefferson), Cristina Ginevri (Mother), Umberto Scida (Steve) and Matteo Setti (Paul). Lorenzo Sebastiani is the musical director. The Italian production of Rent features the same artistic team of the Broadway show, with scenes by Paul Clay, costumes by Angela Wendt, choreography by Marlies Yearby and lighting by Blake Burba.
A cast album of the Italian production of Rent will be published before the end of February. The album will feature Skunk Anansie's black lesbian singer Deborah "Skin" performing Seasons of Love together with the cast.
For further information visit the Rent Italia website, which provides further details for tickets and reservations.
Rent originally opened to rave reviews at Off-Broadway's 150-seat New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996, and moved to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on April 29 where it is still playing. The show won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Rent is loosely based on Puccini's La Boheme: the characters now are Mark, a filmmaker and the narrator; Roger, an HIV positive musician who wants to make a contribution before he dies; Mimi, a drug addicted dancer working in an S&M club; Angel, a drag queen; and his lover Tom. All of them are concerned with making their downtown world understandable to the uptown world without selling out. Their love for one another is what makes their lives bearable.
The London production of Rent did not match the success of the American one, and the show closed after a relatively short run.