The 20th Anniversary of Rent: National Theater


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By Kat Kaderabek 

Thrilling. Electric. Full of Life. The 20th Anniversary Tour of Rent was simply a joy to see. From the extremely talented cast to the fantastic live band, the entire show was a whirlwind of song and dance that left the audience screaming for more. Now closed in D.C., the tour spent five nights at the National Theater and sold out each night. 

One of the best parts of the show was the casting. Each performer played their character well, seeming as if the original performers were on stage 20 years later. The amount of talent on stage was, at times, overwhelming. Combined with the strong and powerful voices of the leads, even the company in the background had spectacular moments in the spotlight. 

Not only did the characters sound exactly like the original cast, but they looked the part as well. Mark, played by Cody Jenkins, seemed like a clone of Anthony Rapp, who was the original Mark Cohen. 

“It was so well-casted that it was a big factor in the phenomenal performance overall,” said sophomore architecture major, Kali Tanguay.

The role of Mimi, played by Aiyana Smash, was spectacular and one of the highlights of the entire show. Her voice was distinct, setting her apart from the other cast members. Her dance moves were powerful and the audience couldn’t keep their eyes off her. Smash brought so much energy to the stage, it was hard not to want to dance with her during infamous songs like “Out Tonight” and “La Vie Boheme.” 

Even in the more emotional scenes, Smash stole the show. The fire and passion she exhibited on stage was reminiscent of the original Mimi and her intensity for life. She truly swept the audience away with her captivating presence and stellar performance. 

Overall, one of the most compelling parts of the show came in the form of the performers themselves. It was obvious that the cast had an amazing time being a part of this show. If their smiles did not show it enough, then the videos played at the end of the performance showcasing their rehearsals and goofy memories were enough to convince the audience that the cast truly loved the show and were proud to be a part of such a talented and energetic group. 

Regardless of the rather heavy-topic of the show, the entirety of Rent can be described as a “feel-good” experience. The show evoked a myriad of emotions that left the audience in a state of contemplation when exiting the theater. There was consistent action across the stage, and at times, there was almost too much to be looking at all at once. The fast-paced rock music kept the entire theater alive with an energy not many shows can produce. This show truly lived up to the hype and excitement presented in the original production, making this 20th Anniversary Tour an extremely successful one.

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