Stage Door News

Stratford: “Rent” has its first preview at the Stratford Festival

Thursday, April 6, 2023

The Stratford Festival’s 2023 season begins this weekend with Rent directed by Thom Allison led by Andrea Macasaet, Robert Markus and Kolton Stewart. Jonathan Larson’s sensational rock musical is staged with heart and purpose at the iconic Festival Theatre.

Inspired by Puccini's opera La Bohème and set in Manhattan in the 1990s, Rent follows a group of young East Village artists, performers and philosophers as they struggle through the hardships of poverty, societal discord and the AIDS epidemic in the search for life, love and art. With a song list that includes the iconic "Seasons of Love," Rent tells a story as relevant today as when it took Broadway by storm more than 25 years ago.

“The community of characters in Rent fight and feud and laugh and love as any other family would,” says Allison. “That is the magic that Jonathan Larson offers us. If we can sit with someone who seems completely different than us and understand – even just a little – that they are not that different from us, we make the universe a little cosier, a little less scary.”

Rent features Andrea Macasaet as Mimi Marquez, Robert Markus as Mark Cohen, Kolton Stewart as Roger Davis, Jahlen Barnes as Benjamin Coffin III, Nestor Lozano Jr. as Angel Dumott Schunard, Erica Peck as Maureen Johnson, Lee Siegel as Tom Collins and Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane as Joanne Jefferson with Gabriel Antonacci, Noah Beemer, Malinda Carroll, Celeste Catena, Christine Desjardins, Nick Dolan, Kelly Holiff,Matthew Joseph, Masini McDermott, Danielle Verayo, Alex Wierzbicki and Travae Williams.

This all-new production is choreographed by Marc Kimelman, making his much-awaited return to Stratford and the Festival for his fifth season. Allison and Kimelman are joined by Music Director Franklin Brasz, Set Designer Brandon Kleiman, Costume Designer Ming Wong, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Projection Designer Corwin Ferguson and Sound Designer Joshua D. Reid.

Rent has its official opening on June 2 and runs until October 28 in the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at or by calling 1.800.567.1600.

The 2023 season also features King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Grand Magic, Richard II, Wedding Band, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For more information, visit