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Johnathan Larson's


April 8th - October 28thFestival TheatreTicket Info
Generally Mixed Reviews based on 9 Critics
  • mid 61% of shows in the 2023 season
9 Reviews

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So Sumi - Glenn Sumi

Beautifully Balanced and Staged Ensemble

“…his [Robert Markus] tango number with Joanne, in which they compares notes about Maureen while strutting across the stage to Marc Kimelman’s clever choreography, is one of the production’s high points…

…[Erica Peck] whose entrance as Maureen is as hotly anticipated as any opera diva’s, nails her performance art sequence, always a difficult number to make work. Her bluesy duet with Sinclair-Brisbane sizzles with sass and sensuality. And Siegel, returning to Stratford after the short-lived Paradise Road on Broadway, is soulful and grounded in every scene he’s in, especially his roof-raising reprise of “I’ll Cover You” in the affecting second act.”

Read Full Review06/24/2023

Ludwig Van Toronto - Paula Citron

Uneven Rent

“…some of the fault of Rent lies with the show itself. On the other hand, the cast is very uneven, with the men faring best.

Markus is simply wonderful as Mark in both his delivery of text and song. His restrained belting is a relief from the howling of his fellows. His performance is engagingly naturalistic, and, in fact, the only one that is. If the whole cast had been like Markus’ believable portrayal, it would have been a better show all round..

Gabriel Antonacci as Roger is a good actor, but is much too loud when he sings out. Ditto Lozano as Angel, who also has poor diction. Jahlen Barnes as landlord Benny has clear diction, but needs to be more commanding, while Lee Siegel gives a strong performance as a very sympatico Tom Collins, the rogue professor and Angel’s love interest.”

Read Full Review

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

More Like a Rock Concert

“Thom Allison’s direction presents the musical much more like a rock concert than as the intimate rock opera that Rent is. The overall effect is that we are distanced from the characters and their concerns.”

Read Full Review06/16/2023

The Beacon Herald - Galen Simmons

Fun, Entertaining and Emotional

“The musical performances in this show are fun, entertaining, emotional and really just everything I want in a rock opera…

It’s the palpable feeling of love and mutual respect between Tom Collins (Lee Siegel) and Angel that really shines in this production…

Siegel and Lozano have such natural chemistry on stage, it makes the tragedy that engulfs them that much more devastating for the audience.”

Read Full Review06/05/2023

Stratford Today - Geoff Dale

Intoxicatingly Entertaining

“Marc Kimelman’s vibrant and energetic choreography is ideally suited to the fast-paced production, brought to the fore by the spirited ensemble of singer/dancers. Music director Franklin Brasz never misses a beat with the lively and often poignant score…

Thom Allison applies his considerable skills and experience from Stratford, Broadway and the Shaw Festival to an explosive work that demands a balanced integration of drama and comedy.”

Read Full Review06/03/2023

Ontario Stage - Kelly Monaghan

Few Truly Remarkable Moments

“I will confess that I found Larson’s music, with a few exceptions, uninteresting…

…in casting the show director Thom Allison seems to have chosen vocal quality over finding performers who looked just right for their roles.

Indeed there are some stunning rock voices in the cast – Andrea Macasaet, Erica Peck, Masini McDermott, Lee Siegel, and Kolton Stewart, many of whom are making their Stratford debuts. Then of course there is Robert Markus, a longtime vocal star at the Festival, who made such an impression as Little Mary Sunshine in last season’s Chicago….

There are a few truly remarkable moments in the show. Lee Siegel’s solo lament for Angel (Nestor Lozano Jr.), the doomed drag queen, brings down the house and the staging of Angel’s demise, which is preceded by an ecstatically erotic dream sequence, is stunning.”

Read Full Review06/03/2023

The Globe and Mail - J. Kelly Nestruck

Open Up Your Heart

“The Stratford Festival’s terrific new production might just change your mind about – or open up your heart to – Jonathan Larson’s 1996 rock musical that reimagined La Bohème in an AIDS-ravaged artistic community in New York.

It did that to me, anyway – and that was a real surprise given I once went so far as to call the show “the least deserving winner of the Pulitzer Prize since Walter Duranty” in these very pages…

The Festival Theatre‘s thrust stage brings Rent’s characters up close to the audience, too – this space was “immersive” before that artistic buzzword existed – and this forces performers to avoid caricature and cliché.”

Read Full Review06/04/2023

Intermission Magazine - Aisling Murphy

The Love Shines Through

“Andrea Macasaet, an alum of the Broadway run of Six, plays the down-on-her-luck Mimi, and she frequently treats us to the indelibly warm middle glimmer of her vocal range.

The role is a demanding one, and the higher high notes at times felt pinched to me on opening night, but Macasaet simmered into the role as the performance progressed, eventually solidifying herself as a standout, right alongside Lee Siegel, who gives a sublime vocal and emotional performance as Tom Collins…

The love for Larson and his work shines through this production, and that’s to be commended; I just missed some of the directorial scrutiny needed to patch the holes in Larson’s unfinished work.”

Read Full Review06/05/2023

The Toronto Star - Karen Fricker

Multitalented Young Cast

“[Andrea] Macasaet is a rising musical theatre star – she originated a role in the hit musical “Six” – and though her Mimi starts out at a worryingly high pitch of vocal tone and performance intensity, she comes into her own in duets with Stewart’s well-sung Roger.

Erica Peck makes very strong choices as Maureen – the commitment is impressive but starts to feel familiar. Sinclair-Brisbane is perfectly cast and beautifully portrays the hyper-competent, sometimes passion-addled Joanne, and Barnes does well in the anti-heroic role of Benny…

The production’s huge discovery is Lozano: Angel is a playful, saintly beacon of light and it takes a particular talent to credibly deliver that vibrancy. Lozano’s performance is a life-giving force, as it should be.”

Read Full Review06/04/2023

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