On Dec. 1, 2012, in honor of National AIDS day, Keene State College’s Residence Hall Organization (RHO) put on a production of the musical “Rent” in the timespan of 24 hours.
This included everything from start to finish; the auditions, rehearsals and performance all took place within 24 hours. Despite the limited rehearsal time, the entire cast managed to turn out a stellar performance.
KSC student and one of the show’s co-directors, Alex Davis said that it was incredible seeing so many great talents come together for this production.
The play tells the story of a small group of struggling and impoverished artists torn between staying true to their beliefs and artistic integrity or selling out in order to make enough money to pay the rent for their New York City apartments. All the while, the group is living in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which several characters are diagnosed with.
It is a beautiful story of friendship and romance, and the KSC students who performed in the show gave it their all. Eric Jedd played Mark Cohen, the struggling filmmaker who acts as a detached observer narrates these strange events.
Cameron Gillies returns again for RHO’s 24-hour show by playing the role of Collins, a homosexual part-time college professor struggling with AIDS. Last year, during “Little Shop of Horrors,” Gillies played the dentist. Sarah Landers and Brandon Carta displayed amazing on-stage chemistry when they played the two young lovers Mimi and Roger.
The crowd was enthusiastic about the show, cheering wildly after a big number and often singing along with the music. However, it was more than just the acting and singing ability that captivated the crowd. When Seneca Eldridge who played Angel, a drag queen, appeared on stage in Angel’s extravagant outfits the crowd went absolutely nuts.
The second audience favorite was Danielle Roberts, who played Maureen Johnson, a lesbian performance artist protesting against the demolition of her neighborhood. Maureen in the original production was portrayed by stage legend Idina Menzel.
Roberts not only turned in a performance that would make the originator of the role proud, but arguably rivaled the renowned Broadway star. Roberts rarely required the use of her script and gave electrifying performances to the crowd.
On the subject of appearing in her first ever 24-hour musical at KSC, Roberts said that the environment was a lot more stressful but at the same time considerably relaxed.
On the subject of appearing in her first ever 24-hour musical here at KSC, Roberts said that the environment was a lot more stressful but at the same time considerably more relaxed.
Despite limited rehearsal time, a select group of students here at KSC managed to put on an excellent rendition of an excellent musical. Both the performers and the crowd had the times of their lives.
Wes Serafine can be contacted at