Montclair High’s School of Visual and Performing Arts Presents “Rent” in May


Rent, the moving rock musical that tells a story of love, friendship, and survival, comes to Montclair High School for the first two weekends in May.

Performed by a cast of 35 student actors and an all-student pit band and crew, Rent allows MHS students a chance to portray a vibrant, yet difficult time, during the AIDS crisis in New York City. Set in the bohemian East Village, Rent is directed by the School of Visual and Performing Art’s Brenda Pepper, with musical director Ken Horn and Technical Director Kenneth Cleerdin. Audiences will be treated to an emotional piece of musical theatre history and, for many parents in the community, a chance to reflect on a time in their own personal history.

Pepper chose the show in part because of the educational opportunity it affords students to learn about a time, place and political climate before their time.

“Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent, cared very deeply about individuals and about creating community,” Pepper says. “He was a waiter at New York City’s Moondance Diner, where he often entertained people with song and wit. He was also known to open his home to an ongoing stream of travelers, friends who were ‘between apartments.’

When one of his best friends was diagnosed with HIV, Larson began attending support group meetings with him, where his sense of connectedness with others grew into a more defined interest in building a community. This deeply influenced Larson’s story of Rent, and is something that continually interests and defines my choices for shows at MHS.”

The show, based in part on Puccini’s La Bohème, was tremendously influential in musical theatre in the 1990s and beyond, and features many of this year’s graduating seniors in leading roles. The students are proud and excited to present this important piece of theatre to the Montclair community, with all the musicianship, production quality, and energy for which SVPA productions are well known.

Note: This show contains mature content and may not be suitable for all ages.

The Little Theatre, Montclair High School, 141 Park Street, Montclair
May 1, 2, 8, 9 at 7:30 pm / May 3 and 10 at 3pm
Tickets on sale at

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