Production Diary- RENT- 28.03.14

So we are rather close to curtain up and its all a-go!

The set/scaffolding is on its way, costumes are making flash appearances, the band are polishing their instruments and we are excited!!!
This time in 2 weeks, opening night will have been and gone and left our first audience singing ‘Seasons Of Love’ and feeling touched by this incredible show.
Feelings between the cast are a mixture of excitement and nerves, I have been chatting to Sophie Hayward this week who plays Mimi, a young girl living with AIDS, who dances in a club to feed her drug habit. She is loving the rollercoaster this character takes her on, she describes her as feisty yet vulnerable. Mimi is character she has always wanted to play as like many of us RENT holds a special place in her heart! She would like to invite you to come along and laugh, cry, be prepared to be a little shocked, but overall ‘celebrate life and love with us’.

RENT is a little different, and you may not know it or have seen it 100 times like most of your Rogers & Hammerstein type musicals, but I saw a phrase recently that perfectly describes why you should come and see this edgy show: ”Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”

So ‘Forget regret, or life is yours to miss’ and book today today!! ‘No day but today!!!’

Oh and check out some of the amazing pictures on facebook and twitter!

Love, Cat aka Maureen x

RENT- Production Diary 04.03.13

Wow things are moving quickly now! Sunday was a very productive day in piecing together lots of scenes that have been worked on in different stages by different people, this is where it gets really exciting to see how it all slots in and is on the verge of becoming something fluid and closer to completion.

 We worked on setting ‘Contact’, an interesting song that I have mentioned before, which can be interpreted in many different ways. We have seized the opportunity for a bit of stylised dance which adds even more texture to this show!
Emotions ran high as we set the very powerful ‘I’ll cover you reprise’ sung by Paul Edmondson playing Tom Collins. If there is a dry eye in the house at the end of this one I will be surprised.
The set for the stage is a little different for this show, I don’t want to give too much away but it is a little more ‘interactive’, and this is true for some more than others… Sophie Hayward who plays Mimi Marquez get’s quite personal with it in her powerful song ‘Out Tonight’…. I’ll chat to her more about this piece next week- definitely one for the boys! But in general, the set offers a more 3D experience than many others that just use back drops and paint. It will throw our positioning into array  when we first get in I’m sure, but once we adjust its going to look fab!!
Kevin our director has kindly spent some time with his calculator recently and figured out that as of the start of Sundays’ rehearsal, we had 24 hours left of rehearsal time remaining between now and the show… since then, 4 have gone… no pressure then!
He also pointed out last night that during his 10 year ‘reign’ at NAODS, never before has he had so much fun with a show. Nobody could disagree with this, this show is addictive, its shocking, its sad and it is just fun! The audience will feel this too! So with… eeek…37 days to go… get in touch for your tickets! #nodaybuttoday!!
‘Cian Hawers’ / “Morgan Johnzon”  -I had to Travoltify my character name in respect to the original and best Maureen Johnson! #weloveyouIdinaMenzel
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RENT – Production Diary 20/02/14

Sunday was a lot of fun at RENT HQ. We got on our feet and danced our asses off! (Some characters like my lovely Maureen takes this a little too literally…..  you’ll see!). ‘La Vie Boheme’ is easily one of the most fun songs in the show; its rude, it’s crude, but mainly it’s a celebration! A celebration of life, of all shapes and sizes, people and the freedom to just be yourself. It’s also mocking the ‘Oh so serious Benny’s’ statement that ‘Bohemia is dead!’ It was really great to have all of the characters together, and although dancing on the tables has already nearly caused a couple of records in the ‘incident book’ (Roger and our MD…) it’s a lot of fun to be in. It should make quite an explosion to round off ACT1.

‘To people LIVING WITH, NOT DYING FROM, disease…’

We covered another emotional piece in which we hear ‘Collins’, played by Paul Edmondson, pours his heart out! Only a Tinman… would have a dry eye by the end of this very moving scene!

We’ve covered a lot of songs now so we spent some of this week recapping everything. It was so nice to hear it all come together. There is a buzz amongst the cast now to build the scenes, characters and the chemistry between us! Tickets have started selling well too so it’s all becoming very real…. Eeeek! 47 days to go and counting!!!!

Ciao for now pookies!


Cat Harris


Production Diary – RENT rehearsals 13/02/14

At this week’s RENT rehearsals with NAODS, we sang through the finale song  and had one of those moments at the end of the song where we all looked around with either silly grins or tears in our eyes (or both in my case!).

It gave our director Kevin a platform for a speech anyway, letting us know how proud he was that we all knew the song the first time through, and sounded SO good!!  Usually it takes a little time and tweaking to come together but on this occasion we nailed it and it just shows the passion that the cast have for the show and it’s bloody exciting!!

We also covered a song this week that brings the principles closer as a cast…. the lyrics and theme are ‘interesting…’ and made many of us ‘adults’ giggle like a group of hormonal teenagers… Anyone who knows the show will know what I’m talking about, anybody new to the show, look up ‘Contact’ on YouTube (but don’t do this in a public place…).

This song also gives Angel some notes to nail but with a slight squeeze… he was well on his way and with plans to start setting some action to some numbers next week, i’m pretty sure he will be getting into his costumes sooner rather than later in order to get used to his changing more than just his clothes…

Ben who plays the part of Roger has been perfecting his rock n roll growl, with his birthday celebrations this weekend I am sure his voice at Sunday’s rehearsal will possess that ‘gravel’…
He is also even considering real tattoos prior to the show (this boy takes his art seriously). Next week I’ll catch up with him and how he feels about taking on a role he’s always strived for, after performing 2 different roles in RENT before!!

Bye for now pookies! Cat (Maureen) xx

RENT – Production Diary 10/02/14

So with just 2 months to go until we open, (Eek) we are really starting to feel the buzz of RENT at NAODS. We’ve covered a lot of ground with our musical director (Laura Slater), and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say how excited we are to put some action to this thing with Kev’s direction and Zoe’s choreography!

RENT is one of those musicals that not everybody knows but those that do know, LOVE, live and breathe it. I’m not ashamed to say I AM one of those ‘RENT heads’, so getting to play Maureen is very very exciting for me and she is currently taking over my life. Anybody who knows the character of Maureen will know she wouldn’t have it any other way!!

Personally, my focus at the moment is ‘Over the Moon’, Maureen’s crazy monologue protest…. It’s a challenging 5 minutes alone on the stage and the goal for me is to captivate the audience throughout the very random protest, whilst at the same time oozing the sexiness that Maureen must serve throughout!
The piece can seem like the ramblings of a crazy lady, but if you really listen to the message Maureen is trying to get across there’s a lot of depth to it, which goes for a lot of the writing of Jonathan Larson in this show. It’s probably been the biggest challenge I’ve ever had on stage and let’s just say ‘I’m working on it…’

As regards the one song most people do know from RENT, well the whole cast are sounding great when we come together for ‘Seasons if Love’ so I am confident we will do this song the justice it demands. Each week we are sounding better and better so there can be only good things to come!

Interestingly, Director Kevin Benson has been working very hard on his portrayal of Angel this week; a very camp, loveable character who unfortunately is living with AIDs. It’s a brilliant character that Kevin seems very comfortable playing much to his wife Clare’s confusion! However as she is playing my lesbian ‘honeybear’, all on stage is fair!

I’ll catch up with these 2 at rehearsals tonight and update you in the week! Bye for now!

Maureen / Cat Harris