by Erin-Therese Vecchi

This weekend, on April 15th the Aquinas Hall stage will transform into a New York City Village apartment between 11th and Avenue B thanks to the immeasurable work done by a select few of students. Different Stages president Jen Dobies and Vice President Kerry Ulmer took on the daunting task of directing Selections from Rent, while many other Different Stages members took to performing and working stage crew.

The rights to Jonathan Larson’s Broadway blockbuster Rent is extremely pricey, but luckily Jen was able to obtain them thus bringing the show to Mount Saint Mary College. Selections from Rent includes many of the popular songs such as “Seasons of Love” and monologues.

For those who did not have the opportunity to see the Broadway show or the 2005 feature film, Rent is about a group of friends living in New York City at the end of the millennium during the AIDS epidemic. Written by the late Jonathan Larson, the show deals with class struggles, sexuality, and coming to terms with having to live each day to the fullest because it could be the last.

The cast is just as eclectic as the characters they portray. Mount Saint Mary stage veteran, Joyce Hausermann encapsulates the saucy Maureen while newcomers Joseph Mastando, Stephanie Weaver, and Brandon Lillard, take on the roles of Mark, Mark’s mom, and Tom Collins; respectively. The play’s two protagonists, Roger, the aspiring rock-star, and Mimi, the seductive dancer, are played by Robert Petrarca and Shawna O’Leary, while Nate Dimmie acts out the role of Benny, the narrative’s high-brow antagonist. The two remaining leads, the hot-tempered lawyer Joanne and the percussionist playing Angel, are portrayed by Emily Malcuit and Anthony Krueger, two students who are no strangers to performing. With the exception to Catherine Greiner, who plays the Life Cafe’s waitress, the remaining members of the cast–Melanie Fay, Ashley LoBuono, Mallika Rao, and Elise Williams–make up the ensemble. Although these characters do not step into the spotlight, their hard work and commitment cannot be denied from their meticulous choreography and vocal strength.

With the push to be creative, it is great to see another creative outlet at Mount Saint Mary College. Break a leg, everybody!