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CMSD students present ‘Rent’ as fifteenth annual All-City Musical

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Cleveland Metropolitan School District students partner with Great Lakes Theater, The Human Fund, The Musical Theater Project and PlayhouseSquare for the production of “Rent

As part of the All-City Arts Programming, CMSD will present its fifteenth annual All-City Musical “Rent” May 30 through June 1, 2014 in the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. The production features the talents of over fifty students from across the District and is co-directed by Tony Sias (Director of Arts Education for CMSD) and Kimberly Brown (All-City Arts Program’s Managing Director).

Also serving on the production team is a group of distinguished professional artists from across the region. Dr. David Thomas is the musical director, Kevin Marr II and Jessica Spurlock have co-created the choreography, Terry Martin is the scenic designer, with Inda Blatch-Geib as the costume designer and Colleen Dowling in charge of the lighting design.

“Rent” was originally created by Jonathan Larson (book, music and lyrics) with musical supervision and additional arrangements contributed by Tim Weil with Steve Skinner doing the musical arrangements. Initial concept and additional lyrics were by Billy Aronson and the dramaturg for the original Broadway version was Lynn Thompson. The original New York production was done by the New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway by Jeffery Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop. This special adapted and licensed School Edition that will be performed is being produced through special arrangement with Music Theater International.

Originally based on Puccini’s opera “La Boheme”, “Rent” traces the lives of a group of struggling young artists who must surmount the challenges of creating fresh work while living in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 90’s. “Rent” uses voice, music and dance to tell the story about falling in love, being true to your dreams and living life one day at a time. It is the story of young wanderlusts following their dreams, hopes and aspirations while working through conflicts. After twenty years the story still rings true.

Opening Night for the fifteenth annual All-City Musical Rent is scheduled for Friday, May 30th at 7:30 p.m. The production will continue with a Saturday evening showing on May 31st at 7:30 p.m. and a closing matinee performance on Sunday, June 1st at 3:00 p.m.

All tickets for the fifteenth annual All-City Musical, Rent are $15 and are available by phone at (216) 241-6000, online at or by visiting the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. All seating is general admission.

The fifteenth annual All-City Musical is presented with generous support from The Abington Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, The George Gund Foundation, The Human Fund and Kaiser Permanente. Community partners include the Cleveland AIDS Task Force, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and Cuyahoga Community College.

The All-City Musical is an enriching experience for the students involved in the production, according to Sias, who has served as the director of the All-City Musical for twelve consecutive years.“ The All-City Musical is an extraordinary program that provides students with a structured arts-based experience that refines individual talents, stimulates critical thinking, focuses creativity, strengthens social skills and affords students an informed perspective on the world,” said Sias in a recent interview about the upcoming production. “These young people are amazing.”

The primary goal of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is to become a premier school district in the United States of America. The Cleveland Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, orientation, age, religion or disability.