HAVANA._ Rent, a highly recommended show, is the first musical produced in Cuba in collaboration with a Broadway team.
Running in Havana until March 31, it was premiered by young Cuban artists directed by a professional U.S. team. Life can sometimes seems unreal, as is demonstrated by this musical.
Until very recently, nobody had ever envisaged staging a Broadway production at a Cuban theater; let alone with performances by Cuban musicians and actors.
That concept is no longer just an idea but has developed into a very pleasant reality for Cubans who are fond of this theatrical genre.
The island has once more proved open to friendly exchange, a necessary source of knowledge for the improvement of artistic development.
The main hall of the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center appears to be the perfect venue for the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical, thanks to collaboration between Cuba’s National Council of Performing Arts and Nederlander Worldwide Entertainmet.
The president and manager of the U.S. Nederlander agency, Robert Nederlander, said that collaboration seems to be the key word in the attainment of many things, as it is what has made the staging of this production in Cuba possible.
The producer expressed his interest in the impact the musical might have on the local audience and explained that they chose the Brecht Cultural Center venue because the proximity between actors and public allows for an intimate environment.
Andy Señor Jr., the artistic director, was one of the lead performers when Rent opened on Broadway in 1996.
He said that the production, which deals with very human issues, gives a group of young Cuban artists an opportunity to prove to themselves their ability to act, dance and sing.
This play is not built around one or two star performers but on many different personalities with significant personal issues; hence a necessity for choral harmony in scenes like La Vie Boheme. Rent is based on Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème opera, but U.S. writer Jonathan Larson has transferred the characters to a poor neighborhood in New York during the late 1980s with issues of the era reflected in the script.
An audience familiar with society and music of that period will understand the value of the piece better than most.
Deaths from AIDS, homosexuality and bisexuality were taboo subjects of the time.
Some people are still prejudiced against these subjects and Rent breaks norms, advocates free love, celebrates life, friendship and understanding, and presents a social and economic insecurity of a side of New York rarely portrayed on celluloid.
The characters endeavor to live life to the fullest.
Among the critically acclaimed performances are those by Luis Alberto Aguirre as Angel, Laritza Pulido as Joanne, Zammys Jimenez as Maureen, Reynier Morales as Collins, Joanna Gómez as Mimi, Arianna Delgado as Mark’s mother, and Claudia Mulet as Alexi Darling.
Running until March 31, Rent is accompanied by a band that includes pianists, guitarists, a bassist and a drummer who contribute to the overall ambiance of the play.
Broadway has brought messages of respect, tolerance and love to Cuba while challenging young artists with little knowledge of musicals; a forgotten genre here for decades.
Rent may yet become the door that opens a revival of the tradition.Share on FB Share on TT