“Rent” A Brash Success for North Atlanta Theater Department

The Rent cast impressed many students and parents during its run in the North Atlanta Linda Faye Stevenson Theatre.

The Rent cast impressed many students and parents during its run in the North Atlanta Linda Faye Stevenson Theatre.

From March 16 to 19, North Atlanta’s theater department premiered its long-awaited musical, “Rent.” The audience’s response was overwhelmingly positive and taking multiple risks on such a controversial musical really paid off. The jump from last year’s “Little Shop of Horrors” in terms of skill level, maturity and cast numbers was clear, and it’s obvious that North Atlanta’s theatre department is growing and thriving.

Given the musical addressed themes such as AIDS and homosexuality, parent helpers gave out pamphlets addressing STDs at the show. In some respects, perhaps this was a close to a “sex ed” class that some students have had at North Atlanta.

Although the themes were heavy, the actors handled their loaded roles with poise and expertise, not being too pointed about the sociopolitical topics made in the musical, but representing their characters well.

Among the leads was sophomore Katherine Atkinson who played Maureen Johnson. “Rent is a great show that pushes social boundaries that are still relevant today. It was incredible to work with such talented people,” Atkinson said.

She really appreciated the extraordinary talents of her senior counterparts, Toren Stafford and Delaney Dunn, a pair who shined in their roles as Angel and Mimi, respectively. “They were incredible role models, always pushing us to be our best,” she said.

Although Dunn and Stafford will be graduating this year, they’ve left a great legacy and done incredible things for our theater department, including inspiring underclassmen to perform at their best abilities. As theater director Carlos Hooper said, “We set the bar pretty high.”

Connor McLeod, who played Roger, is proud of all the hard work the cast put in to make Rent such a fantastic show. “I think we did a really great job,” he said. “We worked hard and we conveyed the message of the musical well.” I enjoyed getting to do a more ‘out-of-the-box’ musical and getting to explore more styles of Broadway.”

McLeod said his favorite song on the show was “What You Own.”

If audience numbers and cast appreciation are barometers, “Rent” was a fantastic performance that really set new expectations for the school’s theater department. Across the school there’s widespread anticipation about what else the theater department has in store.