Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Idolizing Roger

Admittedly, the title is a little odd, but it's a reference to a performance of "Rent" that I saw over the weekend at the Scranton Cultural Center.  To clarify, one of the main characters in the show is Roger, and he was played by a guy who won "South African Idol."  The cast also boasted a former American Idol contestant as Collins*.  You can see the entire cast HERE.

I had seen Rent once before, in 1999 when it was playing in London's West End.  I don't remember too much about the performance except for the part when they had a motorcycle come out on stage (it may have actually come down from the rafters, but I won't swear to that).

At that time (Spring 1999), Rent was just in its first season in London after a couple years as a Broadway smash.  Now, nine years later, some of the song lyrics seem dated, making reference to "the virus" and "the end of the millennium."  Still, the music overall remains solid and I thought most of the touring cast did a nice job with the songs and the physical demands of their roles.

The South African Idol who played Roger had one of the best voices, though his acting seemed rather stiff.  He seemed to want to look anywhere but at the audience.

I was impressed by the young woman who played Maureen.  Her name is Christine Dwyer and, according to her bio, she is a recent graduate of the Hartt School (think "Fame:  The College Years").  She had a lot of energy, a good stage presence and a great voice.  My guess is that she has a long career ahead of her and won't have any problems paying rent.

*2/26/08 - Upon further review, having looked more closely at the cast pictures, I'm not so sure that Anwar Robinson (the American Idol guy) actually played Collins in the performance that I saw.  I know that's what it said in the playbill, and no mention was made before the performance to indicate otherwise.  But, I'll be damned if this guy ( wasn't the one who played Collins.  I think there was a little switch-a-roo!

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