Media Release from Stratford Festival
April 6, 2023… The Stratford Festival’s 2023 season begins this weekend with Rent directed by Thom Allison led by Andrea Macasaet, Robert Markus and Kolton Stewart. Jonathan Larson’s sensational rock musical is staged with heart and purpose at the iconic Festival Theatre.
Inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème and set in Manhattan in the 1990s, Rent follows a group of young East Village artists, performers and philosophers as they struggle through the hardships of poverty, societal discord and the AIDS epidemic in the search for life, love and art. With a song list that includes the iconic “Seasons of Love,” Rent tells a story as relevant today as when it took Broadway by storm more than 25 years ago.
“The community of characters in Rent fight and feud and laugh and love as any other family would,” says Allison. “That is the magic that Jonathan Larson offers us. If we can sit with someone who seems completely different than us and understand – even just a little – that they are not that different from us, we make the universe a little cosier, a little less scary.
”Rent features Andrea Macasaet as Mimi Marquez, Robert Markus as Mark Cohen, Kolton Stewart as Roger Davis, Jahlen Barnes as Benjamin Coffin III, Nestor Lozano Jr. as Angel Dumott Schunard, Erica Peck as Maureen Johnson, Lee Siegel as Tom Collins and Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane as Joanne Jefferson with Gabriel Antonacci, Noah Beemer, Malinda Carroll, Celeste Catena, Christine Desjardins, Nick Dolan, Kelly Holiff, Matthew Joseph, Masini McDermott, Danielle Verayo, Alex Wierzbicki and Travae Williams.
This all-new production is choreographed by Marc Kimelman, making his much-awaited return to Stratford and the Festival for his fifth season. Allison and Kimelman are joined by Music Director Franklin Brasz, Set Designer Brandon Kleiman, Costume Designer Ming Wong, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Projection Designer Corwin Ferguson and Sound Designer Joshua D. Reid.
Rent has its official opening on June 2 and runs until October 28 in the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at stratfordfestival.ca or by calling 1.800.567.1600.
The 2023 season also features King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Grand Magic, Richard II, Wedding Band, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
For more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca
Production Co-Sponsor is RBC. Production support is generously provided by the David & Amy Fulton Foundation. Support for the 2023 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster.
CAST (in alphabetical order)
Gabriel Antonacci – Ensemble
Jahlen Barnes – Benjamin Coffin III
Noah Beemer – Paul, Ensemble
Malinda Carroll – Swing
Celeste Catena – Squeegee, Ensemble
Christine Desjardins -Swing
Nick Dolan – Gordon, Ensemble
Kelly Holiff – Mark’s mom, Ensemble
Matthew Joseph – “Seasons of Love” Soloist, Ensemble
Nestor Lozano Jr. – Angel Dumott Schunard
Andrea Macasaet – Mimi Marquez
Robert Markus – Mark Cohen
Masini McDermott – “Seasons of Love” soloist, Ensemble
Erica Peck – Maureen Johnson
Lee Siegel – Tom Collins
Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane – Joanne Jefferson
Kolton Stewart – Roger Davis
Danielle Verayo – Alexi Darling, Ensemble
Alex Wierzbicki – Steve, Ensemble
Travae Williams – Swing
Director – Thom Allison
Choreographer – Marc Kimelman
Music Director – Franklin Brasz
Set Designer – Brandon Kleiman
Costume Designer – Ming Wong
Lighting Designer – Michael Walton
Projection Designer – Corwin Ferguson
Sound Designer – Joshua D. Reid
Supervising Fight Director – Geoff Scovell
Intimacy Director – Alix Sideris
Associate Choreographer – Jennifer Mote
Associate Conductor – Éric Charbonneau
Assistant Director – Thomas Alderson
Assistant Set Designer – Kim Sue Bartnik
Assistant Costume Designer – Lindsay Forde
Assistant Costume Designer – Laura Delchiaro
Assistant Lighting Designer – Linas Kairys
Assistant Lighting Designer – Sruthi Suresan
Assistant Sound Designer – Adam Campbell
Drag Consultant – Justin Miller
Stage Manager – Cynthia Toushan
Assistant Stage Manager – Tiffany Fraser
Assistant Stage Manager – Cristina Hernandez
Assistant Stage Manager – Caitlin Mears
Production Stage Manager – Krista Blackwood
Production Stage Manager – The. John Gray
Production Assistant – Conner Bustamante
Technical Director – Robbin Cheesman