Oviedo-based community theater company, Good Vibes Theatre Co., will present the rock musical “Rent” from August 12 – 14 at Penguin Point Productions in the Oviedo Mall. The Good Vibes creative team and their cast of local talent aim to bring a fresh take to Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical.
“We’re excited to put our own spin on such an iconic piece of musical theater history, especially with a show that still feels so real and relevant in today’s climate,” said director Jamaal Solomon, who also plays the role of anarchist-philosopher, Tom Collins. “As a community theater group, our shows need to reflect both our community’s spirit and its diversity. We wanted to build an environment where people from all backgrounds feel seen and could come together to celebrate love and life.”
Set in the East Village of New York City during the height of the AIDS crisis, “Rent” is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Rent” has become a cultural phenomenon, with a story that still resonates as strongly with audiences today as it did over 25 years ago, when its Broadway debut introduced the world to a new kind of musical — one that was modern, real and raw.
“Discrimination, and the atomization brought about by capitalism, can have painful and heartbreaking impacts on the lives of good people, and I think ‘Rent’ shows us that in a very honest and beautiful way,” said actor Alex Storer, who plays troubled filmmaker Mark Cohen. “Mark is a dream role for me because I strongly relate to his internal conflict between his desire for stability and security and his need to express and create. I’m excited to bring my personal experience with that conflict to the role.”
Actor Zach Smith, who plays Roger Davis — an HIV-positive rock musician attempting to write one perfect song before his time is up — also finds a personal connection to his character through the show’s rock-n-roll score.
“When I first started out in the theater community, I was drawn to ‘Rent’ because it was the first time I’d heard a musical with a ‘rock opera’ vibe,” said Smith. He says that Roger’s musical aspirations resonate with his own from years ago. “My buddies and I once tried forming a band playing out of one of our parents’ garages for the neighborhood kids. Trying to make a name for ourselves and write that ‘One Great Song’ — to no avail, of course. We were just kids after all, but it’s a memory I will cherish forever. As someone who grew up listening to a lot of classic and alternative rock music, this show was right up my alley.”
Alongside Solomon, Storer and Smith, the cast of “Rent” includes Iris M. Johnson (Mimi Marquez), Aubrey Gore (Maureen Johnson), Natalia Medina (Joanne Jefferson), Cesar Montenegro (Angel Dumott Schunard), Jacob Eaddy (Benjamin Coffin III) and a multi-talented ensemble featuring Hailey Marquez, Rubin Orellano, Xavier Crawford, Rebecca DeJesus, Nate Hernandez, Rachel Geib, Alyssa Perez and Paul Pelletier, Jr.
“Rent” is presented through special arrangements with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com
Penguin Point Productions
1220 Oviedo Mall Boulevard
Oviedo, FL 32765
Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 13 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 14 at 2 p.m.
$20 (discounts available for seniors and students.)
More About Penguin Point Productions
Penguin Point Productions is a one-stop shop for performing arts classes, camps, costumes, and community theater located in the Oviedo Mall. Offerings include classes in art, dance, music, theater and writing for students from pre-school through adult; summer camps for grades K-12; a community costume and prop collection; and community theater for all audiences. Learn more at penguinpointproductions.com.
Caroline Hull, Production Manager
More About Good Vibes Theatre Co.
Founded in 2021 in Oviedo, FL, Good Vibes Theatre Co. is dedicated to creating a positive, diverse community where artists can collaborate, create, and grow. The company is led by Jamaal K. Solomon, Iris M. Johnson and Justin J. Scarlat. Past productions include last summer’s Heathers: The Musical and this spring’s Miscast Cabaret. Learn more at goodvibestheatreco.com.
Annie Lovelock, Marketing Director