Theatre Preview with Buffalo Spree's Darwin McPherson

February 14, 2013 Updated Feb 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM EDT

By WKBW News

February 14, 2013 Updated Feb 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM EDT


January 23rd - March 3rd at MusicalFare Theatre.

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Larson Directed by Randall Kramer Choreographed by Bobby Coke Music Direction by Theresa Quinn MusicalFare Theatre, Western New York's most awarded and only professional musical theatre company, presents the 3rd production of its 2012-2013 subscription season, the Premiere Regional production of RENT. It's an all new look at Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical. With its music stripped down to its essence and
played by actors in a deliberate departure from the over amplified
arena style performances that earned the show the nickname Rant, this production of RENT promises to bring the compelling story to audiences in a whole new way.

The MusicalFare cast includes Charmagne Chi, Steve Copps, Joe Donohue, Maria Droz, Paschal Frisina III, Matthew Iwanski, Amy Jakiel, Dudney Joseph, Jr., John Kaczorowski, Kay Kerimian, Renee Landrigan, Ben Puglisi, Marc Sacco and Jonathan Young. Set Design is by Chris Schenk, Lighting & Sound Design is by Chris Cavanagh, Costume Design is by Kari Drozd and Hair, Wig and Makeup Design is by Susan Drozd.

The performance schedule is January 23rd - March 3rd , Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 4:00pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:00pm.

Ticket prices:
General Admission - $39
Students - $15
Group rates available.

Ticket reservations may be made by calling 716-839-8540 or online at All seating is assigned. Visa, Mastercard, Discover and checks are accepted.
MusicalFare Theatre is a professional musical theatre company in
residence at, but independently operated from, Daemen College.
MusicalFare Theatre is located at 4380 Main Street in Amherst, NY
(between Harlem and Getzville Roads). Parking is FREE, and the theatre is handicapped accessible, complete with a hearing-impaired system.

From the January 2013 BUFFALO SPREE:

Rent Full disclosure:

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Rent. Back in 1998, it was the subject on one of my first cover stories as a writer for Artvoice. I became obsessed with playwright Jonathan Larson's tragic history and musical accomplishment. My first daylong date with my wife, after a succession of perfect moments, ended with a touring production of Rent, starring original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. Not surprisingly, the Rent anthem "Seasons of Love" concluded our marriage ceremony.When I heard MusicalFare was planning an "all new look" for the show, I was curious, but not concerned, because MusicalFare has a great track record for reimagining musicals. For Rent, MusicalFare artistic/executive director Randall Kramer's approach is to go back to basics.

"Rent was first performed at the New York Theatre Workshop. That's a 199-seat theater. MusicalFare has 136 seats, so we are a lot closer to the original production than the large Broadway and touring houses it has played since its opening," Kramer says. "I've heard people refer to it as 'Rant' because it has become such a rock 'n' roll stadium type
show. I want to hold onto the rock 'n' roll feel while communicating on a much more personal scale."

Kramer is also employing the stylistic innovation popularized by
Scottish director John Doyle (most notably in productions of Sweeney Todd and Company) where actors sing and provide their own musical accompaniment. "Considering the story is full of music and performance, I think that is very appropriate," Kramer says. "We have some tremendous actors who are also wonderful musicians."

The cast includes John Kaczarowski as Mark (violin/guitar), Steve Copps as Roger (keyboard/guitar), and Paschal Frisina as Benny (guitar), with ensemble members Joe Donohue (keyboard/violin/guitar), Matt Iwanski (trumpet), Amy Jakiel (cello), Renee Landrigan (keyboard), and Jonathan Young (violin). Marc Sacco, Charmagne Chi, and Kay Kerimian also star as Angel, Maureen, and Mimi, respectively.
"Even after nearly sixteen years, the music still speaks to audiences.
The themes are universal. The characters are wonderfully flawed, which makes them human," Kramer says.

Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical tells the story of a group of
young artistic types living on New York's Lower East Side with the
specter of AIDS looming large over issues of love, loss, loyalty,
creativity, and, of course, money. Songs include "I'll Cover You,"
"Take Me or Leave Me," "Without You," and the immortal "Seasons of Love."

Larson died of an aortic aneurysm the night following Rent's final dress rehearsal in 1996. Rent went on to great critical and commercial success, becoming the ninth-longest-running Broadway show with over 5,100 performances.

Directed by Kramer with musical direction by Theresa Quinn, Rent opens January 23 at the MusicalFare Theatre on the Daemen College campus in Amherst. (839-8540, )