BBA sells out spring musical

Students find truth, family in 'Rent'

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MANCHESTER — While there are about 60 students from Burr and Burton Academy currently panicking about the opening night of "Rent" on Tuesday, there's one actress whose quite content.

Greta Schaub transferred into the academy as a senior. She said going into musical theatre helped her transition process.

"It's really accepting if you find your family," Schaub said.

She admitted that it's easier to explore sensitive topics in the musical, such as HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, identity, death and poverty, when it's done through theatre. "I like how honest this play is," she said. "It doesn't sugar coat anything." In the show, Schaub plays Joanne Jefferson, a public interest lawyer.

"Rent" is a rock style musical and a book written by Jonathan Larson that premiered in New York City in 1996. It follows the lives of a group of young artists struggling to make a living in the city's East Village.

"It just happened to be at a time when having AIDS and dealing with it was a death sentence," said James Raposa, director of drama, dance and tech theatre at BBA. "It's a story about young people trying to find their way in the world, which I think is something these young people in high school really relate to because that's where they are right now."

Raposa said the show is a "neat way to do opera," as the musical is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme."

"I chose it because I really wanted the challenge. I don't find ["Rent"] controversial. I find the story an amazing story of family," he added.

Senior Daniel Jackson, who plays Angel, said "Rent" is his favorite musical. He's performed in almost every show since freshman year.

"Doing this role is a full-circle moment for me," Jackson said. "It's really the whole basis of my life and why I'm so out there and why I do what I do. This is the one thing that calculates everything that's near and dear to me. I don't have to be too dark. I can keep it light and have fun."

Jackson said he thinks it's a great thing to do a show that consists of mature content because it involves topics that people don't openly discuss.

"It's important because in high school you don't really talk about those things. It really shows life isn't the most greatest thing but you can make the most out of life," Jackson said. "It's nice to bring this to the public eye and see how people will react to it."

"It has the added lens of HIV, drug abuse, the fact that its gender neutral, gender doesn't matter to these people, they're artists, they're bohemians, they are about creating new works and commenting on society," Raposa said.

BBA''s Performing Arts Department will show "Rent" from May 15 to 19 at 6:30 pm in the Riley Center for the Arts. Each night is sold out.

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