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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Guam production of musical "Rent" opens Wednesday

Venue is Guam's SandCastle: A musical tells a tale of New York's East Village in the day of HIV/AIDS

E.G. Arganza

Rent is one of those rare successes in New York musical theater, first opening off-Broadway in 1993 and then vaulting to the vaunted Broadway stage in 1996 and enduring until 2008 after more than 5,000 performances. And there were a lot of awards and eventually a popular 2005 movie.

The Guam version will have performances at the SandCastle on Dec. 1-2, after its opening Nov. 28, in observance of World AIDS Day. A special concert for World Aids Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 8 to 11 p.m. A portion of proceeds from the concert will be donated to Typhoon Yutu Relief efforts.Tickets are available at select 76/Circle K stations and Java Hut.

Rent recalls the days of the HIV/AIDS plague in New York’s East Village, telling the tale of characteristically broke young artists trying to survive and create a life for themselves.

Stephen John Ramirez and István Csiszár; Ysa Mercado and Ima Castro; István Csiszár and Fantaysha Rioja

Inspired by Puccini’s classic opera La Boheme, Rent features music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson including the popular hits “Seasons of Love,” “Take Me or Leave Me” and “La Vie Boheme.”

RENT Guam is directed by accomplished Filipino actor, Jojo Urquico. Veteran visiting actors, Filipina Ima Castro and, from Hungary, István Csiszár, will perform as Joanne and Roger. Up and coming Cebuana singer and actress, E.G. Arganza joins the cast as Mimi.

Guam leads feature Stephen John Ramirez as Mark; Krystal Paco and Ysa Mercado as Maureen Johnson, Marianna Hernandez as Joanne Jefferson, Travis Aguon as Angel, Raymond Mathews as Tom Collins, veteran performer and recording artist, JMartin Castro as Benjamin Coffin III, Fantaysha Rioja and Tyler Matanane also as Mimi.

Only a few days before its opening, cast members and director Urquico were hard at work polishing for opening night on the stage at the SandCastle. And they had time for a little clowning for the cameras.


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