It’s been 822,900 minutes since Broadway in Chicago closed its doors. Now nearly a year and a half later, they’re back with a story that’s giving us 525,600 reasons to love.
“Rent” kicked off its 25th anniversary tour in Chicago.
“The show speaks to community,” Broadway in Chicago President Lou Raizin said. “To coming together to understanding time and how time is precious. The last 18 months surely showed us that, that time is precious.”
With the Broadway in Chicago staff going from 1,000 to 14, this celebration has been a long time coming. Especially for actors Lyndie Moe and Cody Jenkins who were in the Chicago production of “Rent” in 2019 before being forced to close.
“It feels nice I’m so excited to share that connection with the audience again,” Lyndie Moe who plays Maureen Johnson says. “To feel the energy that has been missing for so long. I wouldn’t want to be doing any other show because it’s story means so much.”
While it’s a story that some say reinforces the importance of both community and empathy, Cody Jenkins who plays Mark Cohen says it also draws similarities to our “post pandemic” reality.
“It’s speaking toward our future and leading people toward change,” Jenkins said. “Like what happened in the AIDS epidemic, forcing people to be led to change. There were all these clinical research and studies. Now there is medicine and it’s not getting rid of it, but it’s keeping people from dying. We have vaccines keeping people from dying. The parallels are insane, it is crazy.”
As for the future of live theatre in Chicago, Raizin says it’s crawling back so it can remain the Silicon Valley of theatres and keep all 250 stages alive and thriving.
“From a Broadway in Chicago standpoint, there’s no city in the country outside of New York that does what we're able,” Raizin said.
And some note that the show offers a type of catharsis.
“There’s always fear, and fear strikes everywhere,” Jenkins said. “But this show is like release that fear, give into love and live for today.”
Attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks throughout the performance. You’ve got until Sunday, October 10 to see the show in person, with afternoon and evening performances on both Saturday and Sunday.
Visit Broadway in Chicago.com for ticket info.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.