By Paige Asberry / Staff writer

As spring rolls around, so does the time for Hutchinson Community College’s theatre department to perform its spring play.

This year, the theater department is working hard to put on the pop/rock opera “Rent”, written by Jonathan Larson.

“Rent” is among the only shows that Larson wrote before dying at age 36, and deals heavily with the issues that were prevalent in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The show itself is set during the AIDS epidemic, and some very heavy issues are addressed.

The show’s director, HutchCC’s director of theatre Diedre Mattox, said that “Rent” was not easy to perform.

“It’s got some challenging content in it,” Maddox said. “The entire play is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic … LGBTQ themes figure prominently, and it’s not a show that I would say is for children.”

So if the show isn’t advisable for children, why would the theater department choose it?

Mattox said the show was requested by several students, and she “likes doing shows that students want to be involved in.”

The other reason this show was chosen is because it was time to put on another big rock show. The theater tries to alternate a traditional musical and a pop show every year, meaning that last year’s performance of Brigadoon left the door open for a big rock show.

Mattox said that this is one of the most difficult shows they’ve done.

“It’s a rock opera, which means that it’s almost completely sung through, and there’s very little spoken dialogue,” Mattox said. “And even the spoken dialogue is underscored by music, so it’s song to song to song to song for about two-and-a-half hours.”

Even though it’s a difficult, time-consuming, frustrating show, everyone involved with the production has positive memories from working on it.

Samantha Moore, a Wichita freshman, is a stand-in stage manager, and runner for Shane Dawson and Diedre Mattox. She said that her favorite part of working on the tech side of the show is “problem solving, and the feeling of accomplishment and pride going out in the house and seeing how well things are coming together.”

“Rent” premieres at 7 p.m. Friday.

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One thought on “‘Rent’ is due for showing by HutchCC theatre department

  1. A says:

    I wish there were more stories on the visual arts side of the school. We have so much going on that is never featured around school

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