Fiddlehead Theatre's "Rent" Celebrates Life

Fiddlehead Theatre Company brings Rent to the Back Bay Events Center this February 2016, a celebration of the Jonathan Larson musical’s twentieth anniversary. They assemble some stunning talent to fill the large stage and auditorium, especially Scott Caron’s reflective Mark Cohen, Katie Howe’s expressive Maureen Johnson, and John Devereaux’s emotive Tom Collins. Director Stacey Stephens makes the musical a celebration and examination of the 1990s New York City living. The production, however, fails to resonate; not being a Rent-head, I didn’t see the appeal of returning to a bohemian way of life. As usual, I connected with Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia’s level-headed Benjamin Coffin III, and I wondered why we needed a Rent revival to prove my point of the skewed perspective of living life within this iconic musical. 

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Fiddlehead's "West Side Story" is A Safe Rumble

When West Side Story appeared on Broadway in September 1957, critics described it as electrifying and savage. Fiddlehead Theatre Company brings this Bernstein/Laurents/Sondheim musical classic to the historic Strand Theatre in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  However, they lack the electric and miss the savage.  By using many aspects of the original production by Jerome Robbins, the musical feels safe.  The vibrancy in the dance is lost, despite the eagerness and ability of the talented ensemble.  While some of the leading characters, particularly Kim Corbett as Maria, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva as Bernardo, and Pamela Turpen as Anita, offer star-studded and remarkable performances, this West Side Story is set in the safer alleyways, the “Tonight” that fails to reach its apex, but pleases the crowd nonetheless. 

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