RENT Fills the Palace Masque and Triangle Performs Broadway Hit

Masque and Triangle’s production of Rent was the highlight of the weekend at the Palace Theater. The four shows (two evening and two matinee performances) were the product of weeks of hard work by the directors, cast and crew, the result of which was a fantastic show.

The Palace Theater, a small and intimate venue, was the perfect setting for Rent, which was performed with a small but enormously talented 16 member cast. Those who saw the show or are at least familiar with Rent know how enormous the roles of the leading char­acters are, and Director senior Alex Magnaud and Assistant Director sophomore Laura Uhlig cast actors and actresses with the necessary vocal and theatrical talent to carry the show. The main male roles of Rodger, Mark, Collins and Benny were played respectively by first-year Nick Grunden, senior Nick Galanin, senior Trinel Torian and sophomore Mitch Tucci. They were complemented by leading ladies senior Mani Dreyfuss, senior Diandra Rivera and senior Chloe Nwangwu, who played Mimi, Maureen and Joanne. Sophomore James Vigilante took on the crucially important role of Angel and gave such a moving perfor­mance that many viewers (including yours truly) were moved to tears.

This handful of gifted individuals were not alone in creating such an im­pressive performance, however, and the show simply would not have come to­gether without sophomore Becca Mur­phy, senior Melissa McKenzie, sopho­more Jake Sapon, first-year Lauren Bender, first-year YeonJu Mok, first-year Wesley Gross, sophomore Laura Uhlig and junior Mclain Roth, who played various supporting roles and made up the chorus. It was amazing to see how many roles were played by such a small cast and it is a tribute to both the actors and the directors how seamlessly this group of sup­porting cast members shifted between roles and managed to convey an onstage presence much larger than their numbers would reason­ably have allowed.

The vocal talent of the company especially helped the show gain its larger-than-life quality. Again, for those who know it, Rent brings to mind the amazing solos, duets and ensemble pieces that won the original Broadway production a Tony Award for Best Musical, and Colgate’s very own actors and actresses certainly did that title justice in their modest rendition of the show. Standout performances were Diandra Rivera and Chloe Nwangwu performing Maureen and Joanne’s duet “Take Me or Leave Me,” Nick Grunden and Mani Dreyfuss with Roger and Mimi’s duet “Light My Candle,” James Vigilante and Trinel Torian as Angel and Collins singing “I’ll Cover You” and the entire company in “Seasons of Love” – the trademark number of the musical.

What audiences often fail to notice is the behind-the-scenes work that goes into any kind of theatrical production, but the crew of Rent made it very clear how much effort they devoted to the show. The set captured the crucial bohe­mian atmosphere that defines Rent, with a great collection of props like chain-link fence, flyers and posters and a ladder decorated with Christmas lights. Light­ing, sound operation, costuming and music were the other elements of the production that made it such a success, like a well-oiled machine to keep things running smoothly. All in all, Rent was a highlight of Colgate’s theater perfor­mances and will likely remain a favorite of the fall semester.

Contact Claire Aziz at

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