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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 25, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 48
Ballard High Thespians to present Rent in benefit concerts
Arts & Entertainment
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Ballard High Thespians to present Rent in benefit concerts

The Ballard High School Thespian Troupe is proud to present two benefit concert performances of the musical Rent (singing the full score rather than performing the fully staged musical) on the 20th anniversary of the show, with the first performance on December 1st, World AIDS Day. It will run for two nights only, December 1st and 3rd at 7:30pm at Ballard High School, in the Earl Kelly Performing Arts Center, 1418 NW 65th Street, Seattle. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Lifelong, a Seattle organization supporting clients living with HIV/AIDS and fifty percent will go toward the conversion of Ballard's stage lighting from incandescent to LED. At $25 per ticket, attendees will enjoy a fun night of singing with a few surprises, while knowing their admission supports two good causes.

The performance will feature some of Ballard's current stand-out vocal/drama students. Director Shawn Riley is also bringing back 2016 alumni Aisha Carpenter (winner of 5th Avenue Award for Best Supporting Actress in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 'Eve' in Children of Eden), for the role of 'Mimi Marquez.' 2012 graduate Gustavo Gutierrez will play the role of 'Angel.' He is remembered at Ballard for the role of 'Harry MacAfee' in Bye, Bye Birdie (5th Avenue nominee for Best Musical) and as an Ensemble Member in Cabaret. Local musical theatre performers Melissa Backstrom and Savana Masako Smith are lending their support to the effort along with alumni, Erich Jena and Lindsey Elise, from Director Riley's program at Capital High School in Olympia. Rounding out the cast is Director Shawn Riley, himself, in the role of 'Mark.'

Based on Puccini's beloved opera La Bohème, Rent is a rock musical with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, which follows the ups and downs of a year in the life of a group of impoverished, artistic friends living in Manhattan's East Village in the late 1980s under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. There are very few spoken lines in the show because, like the opera, the story is sung. After premiering Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop February 13, 1996, it transferred to Broadway two months later where it ran for 5,123 performances! Rent won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Ballard High is honored to have the rights to perform the score, especially since a 20th Anniversary Tour will be making its way across the country this year with a stop at Seattle's own Paramount Theatre. It is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International, Inc. and, according to the production notes, 'With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters - love.'

Ballard's Thespian Troupe #5369 has chosen to give to the community by supporting Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a non-profit organization in Capitol Hill, which provides care services to local people living with HIV or AIDS and which does advocacy for HIV-related legal issues in the state government. Health Education Youth Outreach (HEYO) is Lifelong's primary youth education program for youth age 16-24. Run by and for queer and allied youth, it strives to foster a community that prioritizes empowerment, self-determination, and resiliency over stigma, fear, and condemnation through peer-to-peer outreach.

Tickets are now available online at www.showtix4U.com or at the door. This show is rated PG-13. www.ballardperformingarts.org

Courtesy of Ballard High School Thespian Troupe #5369

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