So the short story of that link is that there was supposed to be a big high school production of Rent in Austin this summer, but then it was off, and now it’s back on again. You get the feeling that this might be the story of this show for a year or so at least as high school attempt to put it on, then run into opposition because of the content. The weird thing, and I didn’t mention this in my last Rent post, is that folks who complain about the show are likely to do so because of the homosexuality and drug use, but (a) the drug use is far from glorified (even “La Vie Boheme” pretty much skirts that issue) and (b) the homosexual relationships are some of the most beautiful relationships you’ll find in the theater. Maybe that’s the problem for some folks.
The real tricky part to doing Rent in high school is figuring out how to handle Mimi. The character is hypersexualized, and any young woman who has seen Daphne Rubin-Vega (or any of the women who have followed in her footsteps onstage) or Rosario Dawson (I love Rosario Dawson) play the role is almost invariably going to try to live up to their gyrations and “sexiness.” The problem there is Daphne and Rosario (I love Rosario Dawson) are sexy grown women who happen to be playing a 19-year-old dancer–they are inherently sexy women who are able to convey a sexuality that is inherent to the character. Having a seventeen-year-old girl writhing onstage in a high school production is (a) a disservice to the play, usually, and (b) kind of way more problematic then a little kiss from Angel and Collins or the word “fuck” in “Tango Maureen.”
Oh, and Idina Menzel.