It is the right time for RENT to come back to Jerusalem. My own experience with RENT made me realize how prophetic the show was – by the time I got to see the actual U.S. production, a year before it closed on Broadway, it was talking about a moot point. All the singing about the poor, homeless and young being moved out because of the condos supposedly being built in the East Village was a thing of the past. Gentrification had already swept its sparkling broom over the area of Rent, and had moved on to renew new hot spots – Williamsburg, Harlem, Philly and more.
In Jerusalem, we see a similar change, but one that is not yet in the past. Although Aroma may have set up shop in the Shuk (market), you can still feel the reality of folks shopping, barganing and hawking their wares. My friends, and perhaps you, and certainly myself, are struggling to stay in this city as economic, social and political conflicts arise.
I believe it is important to live in this city. I love creating art here. And therefore I am inviting you to come create art with me, and with the rest of the team of RENT. Jerusalem is experiencing so many of the issues that are presented in the show – not only in the luxury condos popping up everywhere, but in questions of tolerance, acceptance and friendship.
The show is built like a community, as an ensemble piece. We have so much freedom in terms of what we give the actors who aren’t playing main characters to do. While the main characters are set in terms of what scenes they are in and what songs they sing, Yaeli, Jeff and I have the option of using the rest of the cast to bring out the highly relevant emotions and thoughts that these performative songs contain.
We want to create a cast made up of eight great leads and between seven to ten greater ensemble members who will perform the small details that make this show so special – squeege man, gospel solo in Seasons of Love, members of the support group scene, voicemails, and the show stopper we are planning for “You’re What You Own”.
The show takes place in New York, but it is actually happening in Jerusalem. Come join us! See you at auditions.