May 13, 2009 - RENT at the Bass Concert Hall
     I spent all day Tuesday at the Austin Airport, shooting a commercial for Southwest Airlines.  So when the director finally wrapped the shoot, I had only about a half-hour to race to the Bass Concert Hall for opening night of the RENT Broadway national tour.  I'm SO glad I made it, because the show was phenomenal.
    The musical has developed a cult status among musical fans, and the current tour stars
the original Broadway male leads: Anthony Rapp as "Mark" and Adam Pascal as "Roger."  Based on the opera La Boheme, the show resonates with its rock score and unflinching portrayal of life and love set against of homelessness, AIDS, drug addiction and scarred relationships.
    Both Rapp and Pascal were superb in their roles, giving all-out performances filed with pathos and emotion.  Pascal was fighting his newly-discovered, Texas-induced allergies - and he still managed to hit every note clean and clear.
   We were also blown away by actors Lexi Lawson as the tragic party-girl "Mimi" and Michael McElroy - a 2004 Tony Award nominee for Big River - as the cyber anarchist "Tom Collins."  But it was Justin Johnston as drag diva "Angel" who stole the show - with an amazing voice, perfectly sassy attitude, and dance moves that looked even better in platform heels.  
    After the Tuesday night show, the actors dropped by our opening night cast party at RAIN on 4th.  With Bobby Cook playing host and Whole Foods providing a great spread of food - the homemade hummus in three flavors was a big hit with the crowd - the night was a huge success.  And Anthony Rapp stuck around until late in the evening, mingling with the guests, shooting pool, taking photos, and signing autographs.  

(Image: Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal; photo by Joan Marcus)