‘RENT’ takes Jerry Herman Ring Theatre by storm

Brittney Bomnin // Photo Editor

“RENT,” the record-breaking rock opera, will be epic as the University of Miami’s Department of Theatre Arts’ high-energy season comes to a close.
The Tony Award-winning musical, which was written by Jonathan Larson and based off of Giacomo Puccini’s legendary opera, “La Bohéme,” first premiered in 1996. It is about a group of young struggling artists during the 1980s on the Lower East Side of New York City. With its powerful contemporary rock score, the musical addresses issues such as poverty, drug-abuse, bisexuality and AIDS. Students and faculty have been developing, designing and rehearsing to adapt “RENT” to the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre’s unique circular stage.

“With the Broadway production, sometimes there was often too much activity on stage to        follow the story,” said Christine Kellogg, co-director and choreographer.

In rewriting much of the choreography, her and co-director, Bruce Miller, have focused on the plot.
“Doing it in the round has actually helped to tell the story… perhaps better,” Kellogg said.
These fresh transformations suit the long standing Broadway hit’s live-for-the-moment “No Day But Today” anthem.
“It’s about living for the here and now,” said Matt Mickenberg, a senior musical theatre major who plays Mark Cohen, the story’s narrator. “Forget about regretting things and just do it.”
This attitude, combined with the emphatic energy of the cast, has made this unique UM performance one of most fun productions he has been a part of, according to Mickenberg.
Considering the style of music and the themes explored, the theatre department is aiming to appeal to a broader college-aged audience.
“This is much more topical for this generation,” Kellogg said. “Many of our actors already knew the words and the score.”
The Broadway production ran for 12 years, making it the eighth-longest running show in history.
Kellogg, a former choreographer and professor from the University of California at Los Angeles who came to UM last year, is excited about the performance at UM.
“There are some extremely talented students here, and the tech team’s been pretty spectacular,” she said. “There’s been a good vibe with everyone.”
Mickenberg put it more simply, “It’s just gonna rock.”

David Sargent may be contacted at

If you go:

What: “Rent”

Where: The Jerry Herman Ring Theatre

When: April 21-24 and 28-May 1 at 8 p.m.

April 24, 25 and May 1 at 2 p.m.

Cost: Students and Children             Weeknight/Matinees                        $10.00

Friday/Saturday Night                         $12.00

UM Faculty, Staff, Alumni             Weeknights/Matinees                         $16.00

Friday/Saturday Night                         $18.00

Adult                                                 Weeknight & Matinees                         $18.00

Friday/Saturday Night                         $22.00

Seniors                                     Weeknights/Matinees                         $16.00

Friday/Saturday Night                         $18.00

Totally Tuesday Performance: Tuesday, April 27 at 2 p.m. Free for students.

April 18, 2010


David Sargent

Contributing EDGE Writer

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “‘RENT’ takes Jerry Herman Ring Theatre by storm”


    I saw RENT when it opened, frankly and i foumd that there was too much going on on the stage to follow the story … I have not seen this RENDITION and I am not sure if logistics will allow but it does sound like it lends itself perfectly to a theater in the round. I admit without RENT there would never be an IN THE HEIGHTS, and I am glad you are putting on RENT in the round and i am hoping you someday get a chance to tackle IN THE HEIGHTS which i think too has – unless you are seeing it at the Rogers on Broadway – unique staging issues which could easily be lost in touring productions.

    Congrats to those putting this show on I can here the opening notes and words “FIVE HUNDRED TWENTYFIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED MINUTES… HOW DO YOU MEASURE…” in my head right now,

    Best of luck with RENT … Make sure to see LA BOHEME if you have never seen the source material.

  2. LTC (Ret.) Patrick O'Doul says:

    KC must really be going places after this one. I hear from his Aunt Karlinne that he is one fine actor! I hope he makes it on Broadway. What a great start for his career. I started at CSUN (California State University, Northridge) back when it was still San Fernando Valley State College.
    My stage work got me my job at The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. I’ve also appeared on stage with my daughter at Pepperdine University in Malibu in “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. It was great being on stage with my daughter. It’s something I will never forget and I had always wanted to do.
    KC – BEST OF LUCK in your career on stage.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.