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RENT is due tonight

By Staff | Nov 22, 2013

With performances just days away the Shepherd University’s ‘Scene Stealers’ worked late into the evening Sunday tranforming Shepherdstown’s Train Station into the set of their latest production ‘Rent.’

At the helm, Director Hillary Crum oversaw the cast of 17 SU students and some community members as they ran through scenes from the Pulitzer Prize winning musical.

As Crum explained, Scene Stealers is an entirely student run musical theater organization formed in 2011, that produces one show each academic semester.

A “collaboration based group,” Crum said she and Musical Director Paul Cabell suggested the group produce ‘Rent’ as its been a longtime personal favorite.

“I’ve been in love with ‘Rent’ since I was 15. Paul’s been in love with it since he was 12,” she said.

Crum, who is a senior at Shepherd University, said she wants to direct professionally and counts ‘Rent; as her second time directing for Scene Stealers.

She explained that because Shepherd doesn’t offer a concentration in theater, many of the Scene Stealers regulars and ‘Rent’ cast members are from different walks of life.

“Some of them are music majors. Some of them aren’t. Some of them aren’t students …I’d say a quarter of our cast for this show is community members,” she said.

“Shepherd Scene Stealers tries to keep this primarily students, but we knew that ‘Rent’ was such a big cast that we opened it up a little bit more,” she went on to say.

Joseph Waeyaert, a local resident and actor at Way of Broadway Dinner Theater in Frederick, Md. joined the cast as its narrator, independent filmmaker Mark Cohen.

An actor since age 14, the 23 year-old said hes performed ‘Rent’ before and described the Scene Stealers’s production a “really creative process.”

“In Hillary’s vision for it, Mark is kind of narrating the story,” he said.

“Rent is a sort special case,” Crum explained about her take on the production.

“It’s a very important that you let the music speak as well because ‘Rent’ is a rock operetta and its the first of its kind,” she said.

Originally performed in the early 90s, the rock musical’s songs and lyrics were written by composer and playwright Jonathan Larson.

Larson’s play is about a group of struggling New York artists, that’s based loosely on Giacomo Puccini’s opera ‘La bohme.’

The work looks at an emerging HIV/AIDs epidemic among young people in the 80s and as well as issues of poverty, race and sexuality.

“For me ‘Rent’ is important because I’m an artist,” Crum said.

“It depicts that if you’re really passionate about your art, you might have to starve for it.”

Crum said ‘Rent’s’ rock style changed musical theater and cited the music as one of the many reasons fans should go see the show.

“It goes from being really fun to being really raw and heartbreaking in seconds,” she said.

‘Rent’ is set to premiere tonight Friday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. and will be perfumed again tomorrow Saturday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m.

Find our more information about Scene Stealers by visiting scenestealers.weebly.com/. Tickets for the show are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $7 for Shepherd Students with a Rambler.