Press Picks

march 4
Rent This shooting star from the Great White Way is the most decorated work to roll off the Broadway production line in decades, and the first musical since A Chorus Line to pocket both a Pulitzer Prize (for drama) and a Tony Award (for Best Musical of 1996). Written by the late Jonathan Larson, who died of an aortic aneurysm at age 35 just prior to the show's off-Broadway opening in '96, Rent is a rock-and-roll update of La Boheme, Puccini's opera about a group of cash- and love-strapped bohemians. Well, let's call it a loose adaptation; the mod band of singing rebels in Larson's tale sounds more like the latest cast from The Real World -- MTV's chemistry experiment in airheaded socialism -- filtered through the Village Voice classifieds. The starving artists trying to make the monthly nut include an indie filmmaker (Kirk McDonald), a performance artist (Leigh Hetherington), an exotic dancer (Julia Santana), a transvestite (Angel Senor), a musician (Christian Mena) and a "computer-age philosopher" (Mark Leroy Jackson). D'Monroe portrays the inevitable (and appropriately named) landlord, Benjamin Coffin III. The Houston premiere opens with a performance at 8 tonight; the run continues through March 15. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-3974. $35.50-$55 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).

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