Rock Musical "Rent" on Stage This Weekend

The Southwestern College theatre department will perform the Tony Award-winning rock musical “Rent” Thursday through Saturday, April 10-12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richardson Rent 4Performing Arts Center.  

 Junior Shane Schrag and senior Julia Faust are just two of the many performers in the show.  They agree that the overwhelming message in “Rent” is hope and enjoying each and every day. 

 “I think ‘Rent’ makes you really appreciate every day,” says Faust.  “That is a major message of the show.  It is all about loving each other and not taking today for granted, it is uplifting in a bizarre way.  Our theme for the year at Southwestern is ‘hope.’  This show goes along with that theme.  It is like finding the light in the dark--that is how I feel about this show.  There are a lot of heavy things that happen in the show but at the end you feel very happy.”

“No matter how many times you have seen this show it does teach you lessons and it makes you realize you have to cherish every moment you have,” says Schrag. “The word ‘rent’ means to be torn apart and we sing about that a lot.  There are several rips and tears and we mention how everything is being torn apart in our lives but by the end it is about sealing and healing all those rips and wounds.  It will make you walk away crying, but it is happy crying.”

The show contains adult language and themes but Schrag and Faust agree that those adult moments aren’t the focal point of this production.  

“I think the reason it is adult themed is that there are drug references, homosexuality, and several lewd gestures as well as vulgar language but it isn’t pounded in your face and it isn’t the theme of the show, it’s just the content within the show,” Schrag says.

“I think it makes you really appreciate every day despite all the themes that people may not agree with and the controversial elements,” Faust adds. 

 As a rock musical, “Rent” has challenged actors in the production. 

“Most of us here have been trained more for the classical musicals,” Schrag says. “‘Sweeney Todd’ was slightly classical and ‘Children of Eden’ was slightly classical.  ‘Rent’ is a rock musical. It is a different type of singing, a different type of acting, and a different type of dancing.  And along with having to sing almost everything, most of our lines are written with the same exact tempo and have to be done the same exact way every single time and that poses some of the difficulty.  I believe it has been a challenge we have met really well.  Speaking and singing in measure, though, is interesting.”  

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.  For more information about the show or for tickets, call (620) 221-7720 or (620) 229-6272. Information is also available on the Southwestern theatre webpage,

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