The success of director-choreographer William Cooper Howell’s vision was beyond anything I could have ever expected from a production of Rent in a small, new theater company in Utah, and I left with the honest opinion that the production of Rent I just saw would have made Jonathan Larson and the original production team proud.
One of the best choices that I noticed was seen in Howell’s choreography (with Elena Dern as assistant choreographer), which communicated in innovative and astonishing ways the themes of the show.
As for the cast, each of them deserves to be praised. Austen Archer, playing the main character of Mark, has a lovely voice and interacted so well with the other performers. His sincere emotion during the song “Halloween” was impressive. Trent English as Roger was at first just another actor playing Roger, but as the show went on, I felt English’s emotion grew and I was able to see and understand the character in a way that I never had before. By the time he sang the pivotal ballad “Your Eyes,” though I knew full well the outcome of the show, I found myself on the edge of my seat concerned for each of the characters and feeling empathy for the difficulties in their lives.
This was the first time I saw a production of Rent that truly used the supporting cast to its greatest potential.
—Maren Scriven, Utah Theater Bloggers