My husband and I watched Rent at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts last Friday. It got a standing ovation from most of the audience – me included. I usually like watching plays with beautiful stage designs and elaborate costumes like Phantom of the Opera, Wicked or Les Miserable. Rent’s stage had a very grungy look. They didn’t have a full orchestra, they had a live band. But their use of light to set the mood or optimize the focus of a scene was brilliant. And the vocal harmonies just blew us away!
I love broadway shows! I’ve loved them ever since my elementary teachers required us to watch yearly productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein plays accompanied by our school’s full orchestra. Yes, I think De La Salle Zobel was the only school in the Philippines that had a full orchestra. I love the booming notes from an orchestra – how it transforms a simple song into a major performance. The singers at the production of Rent used only their voices to achieve the same effect. “525,600 minutes” could not have sounded any better. They had a little help from their band, of course.
During my high school years, I fancied myself a playwright. I directed most of the plays I wrote and managed to sneak in a musical number or two whenever I can. But I am not a songwriter – sadly, I would never be able to write a musical.
Seasons of Love and No Day But Today are two of my favorite songs from musicals. The way they did the harmonies and the musical arrangement is truly awesome. I’ve sung in a chorus before (I was the one who was out of tune). There are certain songs that just bring out your best voice because of how beautiful the music is or how inspiring the song’s message is.
A Story of Hope
Set in a very grim place where people were dying from a cruel disease. Rent breaks out of the darkness into a place of pure hope and intense love. Love might not have healed the physical disease of AIDS in the play, but it healed the characters’ souls. It is a very timely story especially amidst all the hate in the world today.
I have worked in a place that struggled to bring hope during a bleak recession. It did not always succeed. It is sad to think that people could not find hope. Or could they not find love? Treasures like the Broadway show, Rent, are welcome reminders to keep loving others. Love makes a difference in people’s lives. You’ll never know how big of an impact you can have – you could be saving someone’s life just by caring.
No matter how bad it all seems, do not give up on love. Love can do amazing things!