Bohemians gather close, and prepare yourself to laugh, cry and sing along to a brand-new Adelaide production of the iconic contemporary musical – RENT – this October.
Presented by 5 Quarter and Preacher’s Productions, RENT will move into Queen’s Theatre with a talented cast of local performing artists including Lindsay Prodea, Cassandra Haines, and Tate Simpson.
Tate Simpson, who has been taking a break from theatre, is making her comeback in RENT playing the lead female role: Mimi Marquez.
“I’m really honoured that the production team saw the potential I could bring to the role,” Tate says. “I was definitely nervous to come back to this stage with such a big role, but finding my feet in her character, along with the tremendous support of the other cast members and crew, has made the return to theatre such an enjoyable experience.”
Mimi Marquez is a HIV positive, heroin addict who works as an exotic dancer at a kinky strip club. Despite her baggage, she is an optimistic and eccentric character who is not afraid to shoot her shot for love with the main character, Rodger.
Legendary musical greats have previously played Mimi Marquez on the original Broadway run of RENT including Daphne Rubin-Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, and Reneè Elise Goldsberry; now, it’s Tate Simpson’s turn.
“Finding the heart of this beautifully flawed character was such an important part of the process for me,” Tate says. “The thing that cemented her character in my mind was that all she is doing is always trying. Like all the characters in this show, she is deeply flawed but she has this yearning for connection and family that I think so many people can understand.”
RENT, which originally premiered in 1996, is a modern classic amongst a saturation of musicals that have been released in the past twenty years.
The musical’s sincerity and honesty throughout the performance is also what makes those songs so special and emotional for audiences even after so many years.
Tate says that she is nervous to see how some of these big moments in the musical play out on the Queens Theatre stage.
“The iconic moments of the show like ‘La Vie Boheme’ and ‘Seasons of Love’ are really exciting pieces to be able to put on stage.”
The process of putting together a musical is long and thorough process, but according to Tate, her time working RENT’s production team has been a positive one.
“Even at our very first read through, we could all see that this was going to be something very special,” she said. “The only slight struggle has been the song ‘Christmas Bells’ which is a Sondheim-esque cumulation of conversations and storylines in a single piece of music. It was a technical mammoth to tackle but the sound is so worth it.”
Well, if there’s one thing that audiences are going to take away from this production of RENT, it’s the hard work that the cast and ensemble has put into portraying these emotionally complex characters in such a poignant and moving story.
“Genuine tears have been shed over the experiences these characters go through and the reactions they evoke,” Tate said. “If you can take away a single thing about the show, I hope it would be to cherish the friends that stand beside you. Embrace and empathise with others, no matter what walks of life they come from.”
Limited tickets are now available to see RENT for Oct 6 to Oct 15 at Queen’s Theatre.
Written by Jemma Jones