David Cromer's Gritty Chicago Rent Gets Two Added Weeks

By Kenneth Jones
June 1, 2012

Acclaimed director David Cromer's new production of Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent, which began April 27 in Chicago, is enough of a sensation in its environmental loft setting to prompt a two-week extension, now to July 1.



The troupe includes resident performers Alex Agard as Tom Collins, Lili-Anne Brown as JoAnne, Esteban Andres Cruz as Angel, Grace Gealy as Mimi, Aileen May as Maureen, Tony Santiago as Benny, Alan Schmuckler as Mark, Derrick Trumbly as Roger, among others.

The co-production by American Theater Company and About Face Theatre plays ATC's home at 1909 W. Byron. Its original closing date was June 17. 

Cromer is the acclaimed director and MacArthur Fellow behind Our Town (Chicago and Off-Broadway), Adding Machine and Orson's Shadow (Off-Broadway), When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center Theater Off-Broadway) and the current Tribes (Off-Broadway).

The Rent cast also boasts Karla Beard (Woman 2), Aaron Nelson (Man 4), Danielle Plisz (Woman 1), Tyler Ravelson (Man 2), Steve Tomlitz (Man 3), Anji White (Woman 3) and Luke Wygodny (Man 1).

Set in the East Village of 1990, this Rent is "a fresh look at Jonathan Larson's 1996 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning rock opera," according to the co-producers. "At the end of the 1980s, 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."

Cromer said in a previous statement, "The forces at work in Rent are just so exhilarating. What's richer than exploring that time in your life when you're freezing cold, and terrified, and in love, and completely broke and inspired, and besieged. And hopeful, and hopeless, and somehow strong enough to survive all (or most of) that?"

The creative team for Rent includes Tim Splain (music direction), Jessica Reddish (choreography), Collette Pollard (scenic & props design), David Hyman (costume design), Heather Gilbert (lighting design), Lindsay Jones and Victoria "Toy" Delorio (sound design). The production stage manager is Katie Klemme.

Larson (book, music, lyrics) received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Rent. He also won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical and the 1994 Richard Rodgers Award. Rent, which is based on the opera La Boheme, had its world premiere on Feb. 13, 1996 at New York Theatre Workshop. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on Jan. 25, 1996, ten days before his 36th birthday.

American Theater Company is an ensemble of artists committed to producing new and classic American stories that ask the question, "What does it mean to be an American?"

About Face Theatre creates plays "to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world."

For more information, visit atcweb.org.

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Rent is currently playing Off-Broadway in a freshened production directed by Michael Greif, the show's original director. Read more about the Broadway life of Rent in the Playbill Vault.