RENT will rock you, in more ways than one

February 6, 2013


LUDINGTON — The theater scene in Mason County has probably never really seen anything quite like “RENT.” Actor Adam Knudsen, who plays one of the lead characters, says the play is about real life.

20130206-182257.jpg“The message of the show is about the challenges of modern society,” Knudsen says. “It deals with drug addiction, AIDS, homosexuality and the consequences of choices people make. It’s definitely not a show for children.”

“RENT” debuts Thursday night at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. It is a production of Lakeside Civic Players, which was founded by Heather Venzke-Tykoski, Carrie Kosla and Josh Thomas. Josh is directing the play.

The Tony award winning Broadway musical has already caused some controversy in the local Facebook world.

Chad Rushing, who is a drummer in the play’s band, says some people have said they don’t like the controversial and possible risqué topics of the play. His response to that?

“Do your homework before you go. This is a play about situations that real people deal with. Quite honestly, the cast has made a big effort to present this show in as tasteful manner as possible without jeopardizing the integrity of the script. You aren’t going to see anything on our stage that you won’t see on TV any given night. It just happens to be live.”

Make no mistake, “RENT” is an adult show. And, judging from the fact that this Saturday’s show is already sold out, Mason County is ready for it.

You can find a synopsis of the play by looking it up on Wikipedia:

Thomas says he is happy with the play’s cast and knows it will please the audience.

“I have never seen this amount of talent on one stage at one time,” he told The Wave entertainment tabloid. “My only fear is that people who come to see this production will not know that we are all locals putting this on.”

Knudsen, who is no stranger to local stages, says he has been blown away by the voices of the actors. Most of the play is sung.

The Wave asked members of the civic players what their thoughts were on pushing the limits of community theater. More specifically, the actual question was on their thoughts of production choice and the conservative approval. With past shows like “American Son,” “The Laramie Project” and now “RENT,” it could be perceived that Lakeside Civic Players likes to ruffle feathers.

“I don’t think our group has the intention of pushing conservative limits, simply to be defined as an ‘edgy’ theater group,” lead actress Michell Kiessel said. “We have been choosing shows based on what speaks to our generation.”

She said the group is trying to build a new generation of theater goers. “If we limit ourself as a theater group to do only shows that that have no chance of offending anyone, our community will be missing out on some great material. Good theater holds a mirror up to our society and sometimes we see things that we don’t like.”

For information, contact the LACA at 231-845-2787.

Show dates: Feb. 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Story written with contributions by The Wave
photo by Kyle Schlaak

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