After months of four-hour rehearsals and dance practices, the UNC Pauper Players will premiere its performance of “Rent” this weekend at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
The Pauper Players is a student-led organization on campus that puts on musical theater productions for the Chapel Hill community, including Rocky Horror Picture Show each fall.
The Pauper Players' preparation for "Rent" began in late October and the performance will feature more than a dozen cast members, energetic acting and a live band.
The production also provides a space for students to branch out, sophomore Aidan Nance said. This production has been her re-entry into theater and she said it has been a fun experience with great people.
“Doing Pauper Players has been the best confirmation of that ‘getting out there,’ and it’s a great way to meet people,” Nance said.
Jonathan Larson’s 1996 musical "Rent" is about the journey of a group of friends in Manhattan as they navigate struggles with money, drugs, politics and AIDS.
Though the musical is loved by many, it has an even more special meaning to some cast members.
“I do think that being part of the queer community, ("Rent") has such a huge influence or impact on the culture of the community as a whole,” UNC senior Spencer Cruz said. “So that was something I was really excited for, but just generally, I was ready to get back on stage.”
Cruz plays the character Angel in the musical, which is a gender non-conforming role. They said it has been uplifting to know that they have a place onstage where they can find their people within a production.