Monday, January 20, 2014

The Flowertown Players Open Their Grounbreaking Performance Of Rent-A Portrayal Of Love And Loss

The Flowertown Players sailed into unfamiliar waters Friday night with the opening of their
presentation of the rock musical Rent and navigated their ship successfully into the Port of Phenomenal.

Whether you agree or disagree with the moral implications of the play, it dives into the harsh and heartbreaking realities a group of struggling-to-find their-way-in-life young musicians and artists are forced to deal with while living in New York City's Lower East Side during the thriving days of Alphabet City and the Bohemian lifestyle. The harsh reality of struggling with the lack of money just to pay rent and the heartbreaking reality of finding love in the face of the AIDS virus. It was a world Johnathan Larson, writer of music and lyrics, was familiar with and that is what it is all about.

Congratulations to the director(Mark Gorman) who, for this ground breaking step by the Flowertown Players, pulled together from the available pool of talented local actors and actresses a cast that realistically mirrored the raw passion of the original play's characters and presented a vocally powerful performance.


The complicated choreography of the play, from my point of view, was executed flawlessly, especially during the scene of the party at the Life CafĂ© - my favorite. I liked the bare bones look of the background and the different colors from the lighting accentuated the atmosphere on stage.

The live musical ensemble, which I believe to be the foundation of a musical like this, was burdened with a heavy responsibility. If they make a mistake, the whole flow of the play could be in jeopardy. But they did not miss a beat and greatly attributed in a large way to the play's successful opening night.

I first met Cody Smith back when he played the vicious villain in Wait Until Dark and his acting impressed me. Then I saw him play Danny in Grease where I experienced his vocal skills for the first time and I thought he was great. But as the struggling musician trying to find that one inspirational song, Cody(Roger) blew the roof off the house with his explosive vocals. Andrew Turnball as Mark was equally strong and harmonized well with Cody. Equal to the task was Giulia Marie Dalbec(Mimi), Michelle Smith(Maureen), Jason Marion(hauntingly believable as Angel), Kevin J. Thorn(Collins), Alexandria Rashanko(Joanne), and Tyler Reed(Benny).

There were many highlights to speak of and in the end drew a resounding standing ovation. Here are a few of my picks. The tender but hesitant exchange between Roger and Mimi in Light My Candle was beautifully portrayed by Guilia Marie and Cody. You could feel the intensity of the emotions build as the scene progressed toward the climatic reluctant rejection. Guilia Marie additionally executed a superb dance routine when the beautiful Mimi attempted to seduce Roger in Out Tonight. Michelle drew a huge applause from the audience with her humorous and provocative performance of Over the Moon. The entire cast was riotously outstanding when all the friends gathered at the tables to celebrate their Bohemian lifestyle.

Commendations to JC Conway, Heather Pallay and staff for boldly going where you hadn't gone before. You have set the bar high with this one. It will be a tough act to follow, but I have confidence you will meet the challenge.



Purchase tickets for the next performances.

1 comment:

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