Rent: 20th Anniversary Tour at SHN

TLDR - See Rent in SF if you:
1. enjoy stories about diversity, love, and young American artists/bohemians
2. liked the movie, and/or
3. identify with the struggle of paying rent (most millenials) and want to sing about it/vent about it through the arts.

Another Sunday, another drive down to the bay, and this time I got tickets to Rent, the 20th Anniversary Tour with SHN thanks to the TodayTix app (s/o to other musical-lover Isabella). My favorite comment re: the show was from my sister's boyfriend: Wow, the show is actually put on by people who are struggling to pay rent?

The show was at Golden Gate Theater, and I do not recommend parking on 6th street in SF - unless you really want an immersive experience of walking through "Alphabet City" and have to dodge drunk people and garbage galore. Getting inside the theater was nice though, There's really not a bad view in the theater and so much is going on in the show so it's ok to sit further back and see the entire stage.

I've never seen the movie before, but have listened to a few songs ("Seasons of Love" and "Take me or Leave me" are some Broadway favorites). There was a lot going on plot-wise and some parts were hard to follow, but Rent does share some themes that most people could relate to: being a poor young adult, dreaming of better opportunities, and getting through struggles with friends and loved ones.

I'd describe the first act as more "energizing" and the second act as "emotional." The show was over 2.5 hours with a 15 minute intermission, and most of it was singing. Songs and moods shift rapidly, and the storyline moves fast and keeps you on your feet. Some highlights of the SF performance for me were: Today 4 U, Will I?, Santa Fe, and basically every big group number. I only noticed one or two mistakes on the piano the entire show, and was very impressed with the singing.

The SF cast was diverse and all the roles were cast very well. Angel and Maureen of course got tons of applause, but I was even impressed with Mark singing in various positions and the harmony of the ensemble.

Overall, I came out of Rent really enjoying the story and with a greater appreciation of life. If you are nearby in SF - try to get $25 orchestra pit tickets 2 hours before each show. Alternatively if you just want to buy online day of, TodayTix rush tickets are $40. Even the $40 ticket is worth seeing the talented cast and this Broadway favorite that has been in production for 20 years!


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