RENT is a rock opera following a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and their allies: aspiring filmmaker, Mark; performance artist, Maureen, and her lawyer-girlfriend, Joanne; street musician, Angel, and philosopher, Collins; rock musician, Roger and dancer, Mimi. Together, they battle against their former fellow bohemian friend, Benny, as well as life under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
Alexander Theatre, Braamfontein: 17 July – 8 September.
Artscape Theatre: 9 November – 15 December.
Presented by Showtime Management and Global Capital. Producer: Hazel Feldman. Associate Producer: Tony Feldman. Executive Producer: Tracy Nestadt-Jones. Financial Management: Karen Hopton.
Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larsen. Original concept and additional lyrics: Billy Aronson. Dramaturg: Lynn Thomson.
Director: Anthony Rapp. The original Broadway production was directed by Michael Grief, to whom Anthony Rapp credits his inspiration and warmest appreciation. Resident Director: Anton Luitingh. Audition Director: Craig Urbani. Dialect Coach: Gina Schmukler.
Musical Director and Supervisor: Bryan Schimmel. Assistant Musical Director: Rowan Bakker. Musical Arrangements: Steve Skinner. Music Supervision and Additional Arrangements: Tim Weil. Band: Bryan Schimmel (keys 1), Rowan Bakker (keys 1), Edwin Randell (keys 2 and guitar 2), Ryno Zeelie (guitar 1), Jiggs Downing (bass), Jéan Gabriel (drums). Cape Town replacements: Gorm Helford (guitar), Andy Murray (guitar), Dave Ridgeway (bass), JG van Wyngardt (drums).
Choreographer: Jill Somers. Assistant to Choreographer/Dance Captain: Jonathan Swart.
Cast: Duane Alexander (Mark Cohen), Shaun V (Roger Davis), Lorri Glajchen (Mrs Cohen and others/Maureen Jonson Understudy), Aubrey Poo (Tom Collins), Thokozani Nzima (Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III), Ilse Klink (Joanne Jefferson), Tahlia Kodesh (Mimi Marquez), Zane Gillion (Angel Schunard), Sivan Raphaely (Maureen Johnson), Keeno-Lee Hector (Christmas Caroler, Mr Jefferson, Pastor and others/Tom Collins Understudy), Nobuntu Mpahlaza (Mrs Jefferson, Woman with Bags and others/Joanne Jefferson Understudy), Grant Almirall (Steve, Waiter, Squeegee Man and others/Mark Cohen Understudy), Anton Luitingh (Gordon, The Man, Mr Grey and others/Roger Davis Understudy), Jaco van Rensberg (Paul and others), Chantel Herman (Alexi Darling/Roger’s Mom and others/Mimi Marquez Understudy), Genna Galloway (Ensemble and Swing), Anton Luitingh (Ensemble), Jonathan Swart (Ensemble and Swing), Jaco van Rensberg (Ensemble/Angel Schunard Understudy). Cape Town replacements: Chantel Herman (Mimi Marquez), Bruce Little (Paul and others/Angel Schunard Understudy), Megan Carelse (Alexi Darling/Roger’s Mom and others/Mimi Marquez Understudy), Labella Dani (Ensemble/Joanne Jeffeson Understudy), Grant Almirall (Angel Schunard Understudy).
Wardrobe Manager and Costume Stylist: Gerda Rust. Wardrobe Assistant: Adriaan Smuts. Wigs and Wardrobe Assistant: Irene Mabenza. Make-up: Gillian Lentin. Hair Consultant: Salon Pieret – Pretoria. Wig Stylist: Coilin Muir.
Set Design and Construction: Stageworks, adapted from the concept for the original Broadway production’s set by Paul Clay.
Lighting Design: Alistair Kilbee. Lighting Supplier: Splitbeam Lighting. Lighting Operators: Clement Makama. Followspotters – Johannesburg: Solly Matlonela Thaane, Tebogo Peterson Mapheto. Followspotters – Cape Town: Nazeem Griebelaar, Julian Baaitjies.
Sound Design: Mark Malherbe. Sound Supplier: Prosound. Sound Operator: Matt Hallowes. Radio Mic Technician: Gladman Balintulo.
Company Manager – Johannesburg: Jill Somers. Company Manager – Cape Town: Yolanda Kimber. Technical Manager: Alistair Kilbee. Stage Manager – Johannesburg: Monique May. Stage Manager – Cape Town: Lynzi McEvoy. Deputy Stage Manager: Bernadette Norfu. Assistant Stage Manager – Johannesburg: Thomas Railo. Assistant Stage Managers – Cape Town: Eugene October, Zahier Bannoo. Technical Stage Manager: David Mgidi. Front of House Manager: Charles Whiley. Co-ordination: Denise Palm. Inernational Consultants: Ken Myers, Amy Hensberry. Travel: Marie-Lou Simaan. Produciton Manager- Cape Town: Ricardo Abrahams. Mechanist – Cape Town: Yaseem Patton.
Marketing: Tony Feldman. National Publicity: Debra de Souza. Cape Town Publicity: Allison Foat. Assistant Publicist (Johannesburg): Vanessa Naude. Advertising and Design: TTW Advertising. Programme Design: Caren Waldman. Programme Printing: Shaun & Duotone. Photography: Ruphin Coudyzer.
The Wits Donald Gordon Voice and Swallowing CEntre is proud to care for the “voices” of RENT: Lance Maron FCS.SA (ORL), Peter Friedland FCS.SA (ORL) and Heila Jordaan (Speech Therapy).
Special thanks to: Ken Myers for his guidance and help; Investec; Dex de Bruin and all at 702; Billy Gallagher; Andrew Hosking; Islay Stroud and all at the Sandton Sun; Mike Uphof and all at the Cullinan; Shelley Doyle and all at Cape Talk; Jimmy Eichelgreun and all at Delta Airways; Leslie Matthews and all at Tempest Car Hire; Cal Bruns at Levi’s; Alison from Speaker’s Corner; Morne Neuhoff; Dr Lance Maron; Simon, Warren and Karin from TTW; Glenda Blumberg – CBJ. Percy Tucker; Hayden Pithney, Aquazania; Rafiek at Wits University; Maciek Kwiecinski and Richard Thart; Johnny Marshall and Marshall Music; Dr Lorraine Becker; Sandie Szeili; The Kemmey Family; Jake; F&F Productions; Lou Schenker; Computicket; and the ladies and gentlemen of the media for their support. An extra special thanks to Larry Nestadt for his continued faith and support.
RENT was originally produced by New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway by Jeffery Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop. This South African production was presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, Times Square Red Square and Creative Productions International.
Artslink, Mamba Online, Represent, Sunday Times, Tonight. Reviews were also filed in The Citizen, Exit Magazine, The Jewish Report and The Writing Studio, but these appear not be be archived online. A full roundup of the reviews is available here.
Marketing Materials and Photographs
Reunions and Retrospectives
A 2017 reunion concert planned as a fundraiser for HospiceWits was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. In 2020, &Scene reunited the company of the production in RENT: Together Again to benefit the Theatre Benevolent Fund.
Something missing? Want to add or correct information? Please email the South African Musical Theatre Archive with the details, using the contact details at the top of the page.