Bloomfield High School lifts the curtain on ‘Rent’ winter musical – Essex News Daily

Photo courtesy of Schuylar Doemling
Bloomfield High School students rehearsing ‘Rent’ are, back row, left to right, Megan Moynahan, Gabbi Nucci, Marcus Jean, Skyyler Crawley and Skylar Canabal; and front row, left to right, Andrew LoMonte, Alisa Urgent and Marc Manapat.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ – “525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in life?” This question seems particularly relevant after nearly two years of the pandemic. Step into Bloomfield High School’s winter musical production of “Rent,” produced and directed by Brandon E. Doemling, with musical direction by Michelle Lampert, choreography by Tracey Turner Turano, and band direction by Natalie Kerr.

With music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson, “Rent” was produced off-Broadway by the New York Theater Workshop when Larson was early in his career. His sudden and unexpected death the day before the first preview, at the age of 33, created a mythology around the play. There was a rapid upward move; “Rent” opened at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway on April 29, 1996. The musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Theater that year, and enjoyed a 12-year run, grossing over $280 million.

The play, a modern retelling of Puccini’s 1896 opera “La Bohème”, revolves around a group of young people at the turn of the millennium, dealing with the devastation of the AIDS crisis, their emotional and financial survival, and to the very meaning of their life.

The scenographer of “Rent” is Ralph Turano; costume design is by Kathy Martinez and Liz McCartney; and the lights were designed by Nicholas Von Hagel. Associate producer is Abby Maichuk Miles, with properties by Bert Petrik. There are 28 BHS student actors on stage, along with a dozen crew members supporting them. Live musical accompaniment by a group of six completes the company.

“Rent” will be performed at Bloomfield High School Auditorium, located at 160 Broad St. in Bloomfield. Parental discretion is advised. Performances will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday February 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday February 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at; at the door; or at the BHS Main Office, 160 Broad St., Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.