What a beautiful experience this was!
Garry Breul, the creator of Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project, presents several readings, productions, cabarets, and benefits that raise money and awareness for people living with HIV/AIDS. It's a great organization that I've wanted to get involved with for awhile now. When I heard they were doing a concert production of RENT, the beautiful rock musical by Jonathan Larson, I knew it was meant to be.
I was lucky enough to be offered the role of Maureen, a definite "bucket-list" role for me. I have to say she is a extremely heightened version of myself... and so FUN to play, even in a concert setting.
We performed two nights at Florida Studio Theatre, November 3 and 10, 2014 to near sold-out houses. The cast was filled with professionals from all across Florida; some who had done the show previously at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL, some of us new to Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project, and others who have done projects with Garry before. It was a beautiful mix of people and talent!
If you can imagine it, the produciton was very much like a "staged reading" version of a musical. And because RENT is such a powerful piece of theater on its own, it turned into a lovely re-telling of the story through the music itself, with a bare stage, a small band, a few music stands, and the entire cast sitting on stage the entire show. We heard that it was very powerful, even without costumes, sets, and special lighting.
Here are a few photos from the piece:
Danae DeShazer is an actress, singer, and dancer living in Sarasota, FL.