13 Nov 2019

Slightly Off-Hill:

Rent At National Theatre is a Must-See: ONE WEEK ONLY

The beginning of the holiday season is upon us and you need to do a couple of things: First, you need to get out of the Hill and do something fun before the Thanksgiving crush comes and hijacks your soul. You also need to take care of yourself, and there is no better way to nurture yourself than with some world-class entertainment one neighborhood over.

Shafiq Hicks as Tom Collins and Joshua Tavares as Angel Shunard sing beautifully and will make you believe in the power of transformational love. Photo courtesy of the National Theatre.

Yes, you need to go see Rent. The 20th anniversary tour (which by now is the 23rd anniversary tour) is back at National Theatre for one week only. You can live vicariously and sing along with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in this modern reimagining of La Bohème but with AIDS instead of tuberculosis. You can be dazzled by the beautiful set and clever light and sound design that transport you to a crappy block in New York City’s pre-gentrification Alphabet City. You can go ahead and let out a choked series of sobs as the whole ensemble faces the audience and sings the best-known song of the entire musical, “Seasons of Love.” (Or you can just sing along.)

The cast is extremely talented, with a couple of notable standouts, such as Shafiq Hicks as former roommate Tom Collins and Joshua Tavares as Angel Shunard. The dynamic and vocal interplay between Tom and Angel casts a warm glow on the stage and makes the tragedy all the more real and devastating.

Whatever you do, get away from the Hill for a little bit and let this troupe of beautiful, multicultural songbirds transport you to a place where you can accept that love is what makes it all worthwhile.

A special thank-you to the National Theatre for providing complimentary tickets so I could tell you about this experience.

A note about appropriate audiences: When my 13-year old and I were milling about the lobby before the performance, he noticed several younger kids and turned to me, whispering half in jest, “Those kids are about to be traumatized. For. Life.” While the singing and dancing are, of course, excellent– it’s Broadway after all– there are a few risqué dancing scenes, a simulated death scene, a more realistic dying scene and some themes that parents and younger children may not be ready to discuss.

If you go:

What: Rent, 20th Anniversary Tour

When: November 12-17, 2019

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday matinees, 2 p.m.
  • Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.

Where: National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Why: Because it’s all about LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! For tickets, click here, give them a call at 1-800-514-3849 or just walk up to the box office at the address above. You can enter your name into a lottery for any of the above performances and purchase tickets for $25 each if you are called up.

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