“There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today.
I can’t control my destiny. I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be.
There’s only now, there’s only here. Give into love, or live in fear. No other course, no other way.
NO DAY but TODAY”
Last night, I sat in a crowded High School auditorium with my cuz, Jody Weiner- Rosenblum. as we watched a performance of RENT. I was blown away by the exceptional talent of these students who are bound for greatness. A few thoughts came to me as I was laughing, crying and clapping along. The focus is multi-fold, about life and death, the AIDS crisis and the lives it took, relationships, sexuality, drug addiction, appreciation for each moment, living out loud, and taking risks, so it amazed me that the school was able to get the approval of the administration since most of the members of the school board are not known for their progressive natures and advocating for the LGBTQ+ students in the district. Keep in mind that this is a district whose school board espouses institutional discrimination toward these teens.
When the idea of performing this multi-award winning musical was proposed to the administration of Central Bucks West High School, the initial response was not a standing ovation. They deemed it “too controversial”. Translate that to a focus on LGBTQ+ characters and their relationships with each other. Ultimately, open minds won out and the show did indeed go on.
The original musical was a labor of love that playwright Jonathan Larson never got to witness on stage, since he died a the day before it debuted, of an aortic aneurism on the verge of turning 36. The Netflix biopic called Tick Tick… BOOM celebrates his genius. My favorite song from RENT is what many consider the theme of the play. Seasons of Love touches on the importance of measuring our lives in the experiences we have and the love we get to share with those whose paths we cross in sometimes unexpected ways.
It’s been a long time since I was a High School student, having graduated in 1977, but I remember well the social strata and theater kids were not considered upper echelon. I found myself hoping that these teens were hailed as heroes and celebrities, every bit as much as athletes and cheerleaders and were recognized in the hallways for their brilliance. Their enthusiasm both on and off stage was a joy to witness and their passion for their craft was evident. In addition to their academics, these soon to be young adults, spent countless hours in rehearsal to nail all of the nuances of a musical that is about topics that will impact their lives and those of their friends eventually. May they measure their lives in love.
Check out the trailer for the CB West version of the musical.
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