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by Mitchell Terpstra | THEATRE


It’s Eleventh Hour in East Village


$12 in Advance, $15 at the Door


March 12 • 7 pm

of AIDS—instead of the outmoded old world tuberculosis—casts the death-pall over a community of artists. And this time around, the impoverished artists are struggling to scrape enough money together for rent in East Village, N.Y., rather than the Latin Quarter of Paris. Rent sets itself in the mid-‘80s when, as Director Jay Berkow puts

“L March 17 • 7 pm • $5 Super Happy March 25 • 9 pm • 18+ • $10

burlesque funtime

Live Music in the Bar EveryThursday!

Visit our website for more informa- tion about these and other events, as well as movie dates and showtimes .

50 North Main St. Three Rivers, MI (269) 278-8068


Hello Dolly! Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Through March 20, show times at 2 and 7:30 p.m. $16-$30,, (616) 222-6650

Hello, Dolly! is the story of Mrs. Dolly Levis and her efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the popular half-millionaire, and spread his money through the people of the city. Set in New York at the turn of the 20th century, audiences follow the adventures of America’s most beloved matchmaker. Hello, Dolly! is full of memorable songs including “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” and, of course, “Hello Dolly!”

it, “there was no drug cocktail that could offer you a relatively normal life span. AIDS was a death-sentence then. “So here’s the thought scenario,” con-

RENT Gilmore Theatre Complex, Western Michigan University March 17-19, 24-27, show times at 2 and 8 p.m. $20 general admission; $5 with student ID, (269) 387-3220

tinues Berkow, who is also the Professor of Musical Theatre at Western Michigan University. “You are 21 and the doc tells you you have two-to-five years to live and those years will be spent dying a horrible death. So: Do you party like it’s the end of the universe? Or do you pour all of yourself into that one great masterpiece?” Such is the tension Rent teeters on. That

tension took on real-life poignancy when, the night of Rent’s final dress rehearsal,

its librettist died at the truncated age of 35 from not AIDS, but an aortic aneurysm. Larson’s death was allegedly connected to his having Marfan’s Syndrome, a degenerative genetic disorder of the connective tissue, which, in its severest form, involves defects of the heart. The rest of Rent, however, is not so accidentally autobiographical:

Larson, like the characters portrayed in his musical, lived in a vibrant community of struggling artists that ran back and forth between work that paid and work they loved. Like his dramatis personae, Larson and his friends lived in crumbling apartments with bathtubs in the kitchen and illegal wood-burning stoves to keep warm. And, like his cast of characters, Larson also suffered and celebrated the themes most

OVE CAN KILL” is an almost unswallow- able truth, but it’s nowhere more forced down your throat than in Jonathan Larson’s hit 1994 musical Rent. Larson’s musical is a rock-opera revision of Puccini’s libretto La Bohéme in which the epidemic

prevalent in his work: homophobia, addiction, multiculturalism and artistic ambition. “It’s the most significant American musical of the last 20 years,”

Berkow said. “It’s the Hair, West Side Story and Oklahoma! of our generation.” Berkow’s appraisal would certainly gratify Larson, who, though ap-

preciative of Oklahoma!, was fed up with how little musicals had changed over the next 50 years while music had evolved in leaps and bounds. Hence, Rent’s dramatic vignettes are accompanied by the gritty,

visceral optimism of a rock-‘n’-roll score and—under Berkow’s direc- tion—an experimental choreography he calls “spontanography”—which allows the actors to break into dance when they feel it, rather than follow set steps. “I’m trying to get away from the ‘it’s-not-real’ complaint and up

the believability by having movement come out the minds of the characters,” Berkow said. n

Other Theatre Events | by Lyanna Hampton

Grease DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids

March 1-6, show times at 1, 2, 7:30 and 8 p.m. Tickets from $25, (616) 235-6285

One of the classics is back. TIME magazine’s 2007 pick for “#1 musical of the year” is sliding its way across the U.S. in a new production hot off Broadway. Travel back to the Rockin’ ‘50s with poodle skirts, drive-ins and jukeboxes. Bad-boy Danny and girl-next-door Sandy fall in love all over again to the tune of classic songs: “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “We Go Together.”

A Catered Affair Farmers Alley Theatre, Kalamzoo

March 25-April 10, show times 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets $29-$33,, (269) 343-2727

Based on the 1956 movie starring Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine, this Tony-nominated musical was chosen as Best Musical by the New York Drama League for 2008. A Catered Affair tells the story of two parents in the Bronx trying to give their daughter the elaborate wedding they never had. In this funny and moving show of love and disaffection, Fierstein’s book and Bucchino’s score exposes both our need for love and the true meaning of family.


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