'RENT' to Take Harper Stage

The Broadway hit RENT was written 20 years ago, tackling issues of injustice and intolerance in a nation gripped by the AIDS epidemic.

Much has changed since then. But as Harper College prepares to stage the musical this month, Professor Laura Pulio-Colbert says it's also evident the message still needs to be heard.

"Rent is about seeing the goodness in each and every human being, and that's a lesson that will never grow outdated," says Pulio-Colbert, the show's director, pointing specifically to the rash of gay teens whose suicides have made recent headlines and the continued news coverage of human rights issues across the globe. "It's also about appreciating the gifts we have been given, and appreciating every day that we live to appreciate them."

Set in New York City's East Village in the late 1980s, the Tony Award-winning RENT follows a year in the life of a group of friends struggling to make it in the big city - navigating dreams, love and conflict amid a score that blends electric rock with salsa, Motown, bebop and reggae.

Longtime Harper set designer Paul Dombrowski recommended the production to Pulio-Colbert, saying the musical, which simultaneously demonstrates the strides that have been made in the human rights movement and reminds audiences of the work that still must be done, was a sure winner.

"RENT is a story of love, tolerance and coming together when the community is torn apart," Dombrowski says. "It is about accepting all people."

Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, November 11 and 12 and November 18 and 19, and 2 p.m. Sundays, November 13 and November 20 in the Performing Arts Center on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

The musical is not recommended for those under age 16.

Tickets are $15 for general admission. Call 847.925.6100or visit the Box Office online

Press Contacts: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist; Laura Pulio-Colbert, Professor.