Some of Staffordshire’s brightest up-and-coming performers will showcase their skills later this month in the controversial rock-opera RENT – the highly anticipated second production of the Stone Youth Theatre (SYT) company.
Often considered controversial, RENT is the tenth longest running show on Broadway, and is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City’s East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
In a curious twist of fate, the opening night of SYT’s forthcoming production at Stoke Rep Theatre (Thursday 28th January) is exactly ten years to the day of the first Broadway preview of the show. Tragically, it also marks the anniversary of the death of the show’s creator Jonathan Larson, who died on the very morning his hit musical was to be staged for the first time.
Following its debut run of ‘A Chorus Line’ – which performed to sell-out audiences and critical acclaim at the Mitchell Arts Centre in January 2015 – SYT sought to build on this success and held a series of open auditions for 16 – 25 year olds last summer in an effort to expand upon their pool of talented local performers and raise the bar for the next show.
The resulting auditions produced some stellar performances, and the talented cast – all hailing from the Stafford, Stone & Stoke area – can now be introduced as: LEWIS WARREN – Mark; WESLEY WALKER – Roger; SAM SIMKIN – Benny; HANNAH WALTON – Mimi; ELLIE GILBERT – Joanne; RUBY MAE TITUS-COBB – Maureen; FREDDIE BORGMAN – Collins; and NATHAN ADAMS – Angel.
Looking ahead to show week, Studio Director at Rooftop Studios – the base of operations for SYT – Laura Keeling says:
“You usually get your cast pretty spot on, but it’s been an amazing journey working with so much talent, and with many youngsters who are completely new to us. They’ve all bonded extremely well, and are living and breathing the show to get into character. It’s going to be something very special to watch.
“We had a great response from all those who came to see ‘A Chorus Line’ at the MITCH last year and it would be great to see as many old and new faces showing that same support for this year’s show as well.”
Stone Youth Theatre’s production of RENT will take place at Stoke Repertory Theatre from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th January. Thursday & Friday performances commence at 7.30pm, with two Saturday shows taking place 2.30pm and 7pm respectively.
Tickets are priced at £12.50 for adults and £10 for concessions and are available at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rent-the-musical-tickets-18049533641 or on the door.