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Paramount Theatre turns in stellar version of ‘Rent’

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:25 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo by Liz Lauren)
Sawyer Smith (from left), Adaeze’ Kelley and Andrea Prestinario dance atop a table in "RENT," running through April 6 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.

AURORA – The Paramount Theatre’s current production of “Rent” resonates with newfound energy as the theater takes on the much beloved, Tony Award-winning musical.

For those not familiar with the story, “Rent” follows a year in the life of a group of young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York, circa 1991.

It doesn’t take long for the production to kick into high gear, and the cast is more than capable of creating the frenetic energy that the musical requires.

The live, five-person band under the direction of conductor Shawn Stengel only adds to the exuberance.

Evan Tyrone Martin provides many stellar moments in his portrayal of Tom Collins, one of the main characters in “Rent.” Along with providing the emotional range that the role requires, his powerful vocals are a highlight of the production.

There also is robust interplay between the different characters, although the chemistry between Meghan Murphy as Joanne Jefferson and Andrea Prestinario as Maureen Johnson could have been stronger, most notably during the duet “Take Me or Leave Me.”

Overall, the Paramount turned in another fine production, giving theater-goers another reason to head to Aurora for their entertainment needs.

“Rent” is rated R for strong adult themes and is not recommended for audience members younger than 17. The musical will be performed through Sunday, April 6, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Single tickets start at $36.90, available at www.ParamountAurora.com or by calling 630-896-6666.

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