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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024


One of the most celebrated rock musicals, RENT, is set to arrive at Wyatt Pavilion this season. Studio 301, a UC Davis student theatre group, is proud to announce their own staging of RENT, the gritty musical about the struggle for creative freedom, recognition and love when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was quickly changing the NYC landscape.

Studio 301’s RENT will have a two week run from May 10 to 13 and 17 to 20. Mitchell Vanlandingham serves as the staging director and Elizabeth Tremaine is the musical director for this upcoming production. Tremaine took some time out of her busy schedule to provide some insight about the show.

MUSE: Please tell us a little about yourself and your role in this production of RENT.

TREMAINE: I’m a recent graduate of UC Davis, where I majored in psychology with minors in neuroscience and theatre. I am the musical director for this production of RENT.

What made you decide to get involved with this production?

Mitchell and I proposed RENT to Studio 301, the student-run production company at UC Davis, because it is relevant to our community. It tells a heart-wrenching story of friendship, love, loss and grief. We wanted to use RENT to evoke discussion amongst community members about health, sexuality and other controversial topics.

What do you love about RENT?

From a musical standpoint, RENT is a playground. Composer and lyricist Jonathan Larson mastered so many genres of music, from hard rock (RENT) and pop rock (Light My Candle) to tango (Tango Maureen). Unlike other rock operas, which often stick to one genre of music, RENT plays with musical format to help tell the story. It is a joy to work with well-crafted material.

Is there anything different in comparison to the movie version?

Musically, the film version of RENT is significantly different from the stage production. Larson structured RENT as a rock opera: like any classical opera, RENT is composed of both arias (songs driven by a melody in which characters express their emotions) and recitatives (songs in which the characters adopt the rhythms of normal speech). Many of the recitatives were, unfortunately, omitted in the making of the film. We are also having a live band accompany the actors.

What is your favorite part of Studio 301’s RENT so far?

I have loved seeing the cast develop into an ensemble. They have become incredibly close, and their friendship helps make their performances believable and heart-wrenching.

To purchase tickets, contact the Ticket Office at (530) 753-1915; student prices are $14 and general admission is $16. All shows take place at 8 p.m. except for Sunday matinees, which will be at 2 p.m.

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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