I’ve been a bit MIA lately. But with good reason. I’ve been being a stage-mum; stalking my Archie as he performed in the role of Roger in Rent. Just to prove to you just how seriously I take my stage-mum role, I queued outside the stage doors so I could be first into the theatre and elbow everyone out of the way for a seat centre-stage and in the front row. That’s commitment and just where the actors would prefer you not to be because they can see you! The good thing is, Archie knows me very well and didn’t expect anything less.
I had never seen Rent before and now it is one of my most favourite musicals. Although the subject matter deals with people living on the fringe of society where there is homelessness and poverty and HIV and drug abuse, you can’t help but be moved by the story that will certainly bring more than a tear to the eye.
The musical is based on the opera, La Boheme and was written by Jonathan Larson in 1994. The musical was scheduled to open off-Broadway on January 25, 1996 however the night before the premiere, Jonathan Larson died. Tragically, he wasn’t around to see that what he had written would win a Tony award for Best Musical, run a 12-year season with over 5,000 performances, gross over $280 million and be adapted into a movie.
In the lead up to the opening, Archie has not been so easy to live with. So moody. And angry. And difficult. And we’ve all had to tip toe around him to avoid a flare up. But as I sat and watched his first performance, I saw the enormity of the workload, pressure and stress he must have been under to bring Jonathan Larson’s character of Roger to life. Not only is Roger on stage for almost the entire show, he sings constantly and the music Jonathan wrote is known for the demands it places on the actor’s voice. There’s a ‘Top A’ involved which a few years ago, Archie couldn’t even reach.
We were politely told prior to the start of each performance that filming and flash photography weren’t allowed. But with my new camera I can shoot without a flash and so I have some images to share with you. I would love to have recorded some of the music for you but that wasn’t allowed either! However, I do have two favourite songs to share with you and being a stage mum, of course they’re sung by Archie’s character.
The first is Glory and it’s the first solo performance of the show. By now we know Roger has HIV and is a struggling (really struggling) musician. He just want’s to write one good song before he dies.
The other song comes at the end of the musical and 12 months has passed. Roger’s girlfriend Mimi is dying and he has never told her that he loves her. This is the song that took him all year to write and he wants her to hear the song before she dies. Cue teary moment!
The show was very well supported with every performance being sold out with a long waiting list of hopefuls desperately wishing for a seat. My blogging friend, Tania dragged her sick son, Skater out of bed to come and watch and she sent me a very enthusiastic text telling me how much she enjoyed it. Archie’s agent saw the show on the same night and he’d like Archie to come in and see him to talk about where to from here.
So…it’s all over but not quite. Archie can’t remove that black nail polish just yet because next week they’re bringing in five cameras to film the show. I wonder if they’d like some mums in the audience!
I’d have to say it was the best musical ever put on by AIM but being a stage-mum, you wouldn’t expect me to say anything less!
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