Onstage: Rent

Every decade or so a new musical comes along to breathe new life into an art form that some fear is outdated, bringing young audiences back to the theater. In the 1950s it was 'West Side Story.' In the '60s it was 'Hair.' And in the '70s it was 'A Chorus

Every decade or so a new musical comes along to breathe new life into an art form that some fear is outdated, bringing young audiences back to the theater. In the 1950s it was West Side Story. In the ’60s it was Hair. And in the ’70s it was A Chorus Line.

The ’90s trendsetter was Rent, an off-Broadway work inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohme that became an unlikely Broadway hit where it ran for 12 years. Today, the show can feel more like a period piece (as do those other trendsetters I’ve cited), but with a smart director and a vibrant cast, it can take contemporary audiences back in time to an earnest, urgent and frenetic era described in the song “La Vie Bohme.”

That’s what’s happening onstage at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where a two-week run of the tale of life on New York City’s Lower East Side in the early 1990s continues through the weekend.

Rent, presented by the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, continues through Sunday. Go here to read Rick Pender's full review.

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