Nikki Garrett Metzger
High Desert Daily Theatre Critic
(Victorville) — There is nothing like live theater and here in the High Desert this weekend presents another opportunity to experience great live theater with very talented local actors.
Thursday night marked the opening night for the award-winning RENT at the High Desert Center for the Arts, presented by Creative Arts Theater, the first theatre company in the High Desert to present the full stage version of Jonathan Larson’s hit musical.
Based on Puccini’s La Boheme, Larson’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning revolutionary rock opera Rent tells the story of one year in the life of eight friends living the Bohemian life. Against the gritty backdrop of New York’s East Village, these friends strive for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty, illness, and the AIDS epidemic.
The opening night performance went off without a hitch. The cast melded together so well, their voices were a wonderful harmony. Plus there were several stand-out performances: most notably Robert K. Blomker II’s character Tom Collins singing “I’ll Cover You”. The pure emotion he put into that song could be felt through-out the audience. You were mourning right with him and wept with him as he mourned the loss of his lover.
Angel, played by Kenneth Veal was a show stopper. He completely understood his character and fully brought him to life. His flamboyant costumes and larger than life stage presence was a bright spot among the overall somber mood of the show. As was the “Tango Maureen”so well performed by Mark (John Paul Vargas) and JoAnne (Theodora (Tedi) Wilson.
Keith Glisson played Roger and embodied the 90’s grunge attitude – from his clothes, to his attitude, down to his sulky posture. His voice, however, was totally rocker.
Rachel Tonyan was stunning as Mimi Marquez. Erica Varela as spunky performance artist Maureen Johnson stole just about every scene she was in – what a powerful voice!
This show is certainly for mature audiences as it contains adult language and situations. But it is a show not to be missed!
Creative Arts Theater is presenting the full, uncut version of RENT July 14th-17th and 21st-24th, Thursday – Saturday 7:30am and Sunday 2:30pm. RENT will continue through July 31st, a full three weekend run, according to producer Cherie Glisson.
Do yourself a favor and attend this wonderful show directed by Robert Blomker.
High Desert Center for the Arts, 15615 8th St, Victorville. For Tickets call 760-963-3236.