BY JONATHON LARSON
MUSICAL THEATRE WEST
DECEMBER 11, 2009
Musical Theatre West Brings A Great 2009 To A Close With A Dazzling Production…brought to startling life by terrific performances…outstanding. This is one of the most deeply-moving, live theatre experiences of the year in all of the LA/OC area.
- Joseph Sirota, Event News
Fans of "Rent" will follow the show anywhere, but does MTW's staging – the musical's Los Angeles regional professional premiere – pass muster for non-fans, and does it hold a candle to other Southern California stagings from years past? Yes, and yes. Director Nick DeGruccio has a solid handle on Jonathan Larson's libretto, keeping clear the potentially confusing crisscrossing character relationships. DeGruccio's expansive staging of the musical set pieces makes good use of the wide and deep stage of the Carpenter. The talents at DeGruccio's disposal match and in some cases exceed those of the touring show that visited Costa Mesa this October.
– Eric Marchese, Orange County Register
Santa Claus came early to Long Beach. Nick DeGruccio’s magnificent direction of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize winning musical “Rent” treats Musical Theatre West audiences to a touching gift of a story of love and hope in the face of poverty, addiction, and AIDS among a group of friends who live in Manhattan's East Village during the last decade of the last century.
- James Scarborough, Huffington Post
Under DeGruccio’s direction, MTW’s Rent soars. Trust me. Anyone who has ever seen and loved Rent before owes it to him/herself not to miss this Los Angeles Regional Premiere production. Credit goes to the multiple award-winning DeGruccio, who brings not only his visual conception to vivid life, but inspires authentic acting from his gifted cast. Rent’s closing opened the show to directors finally allowed to put their personal stamp on the show. Musical Theatre West’s Los Angeles regional premiere of Rent, directed by the never less than brilliant Nick DeGruccio, is a perfect example of this, and it is exciting indeed to see DeGruccio bring his vision of Rent to fruition and to witness his supremely talented cast sinking their teeth into the iconic roles which Larson created.
- Steven Stanley, StageScene LA
This production marks my 98th live viewing of RENT. I must confess that this production is the best there will ever be while out of the hands of Michael Greif, who directed the show on Broadway and its national tours.
DeGruccio’s creation process focuses on smaller moments within the storyline, giving his audience many more comedic moments when needed.
The casting was mostly perfection, with talent that Bernard Telsey would have loved to have seen come through his office a few years ago.
Special thank you to Paul Garman for taking on—and succeeding—with the difficult task of producing such a challenging show and for choosing Nick DeGruccio to direct. For, if it were anyone else, I would have refused to go. Nick DeGruccio fails to make mistakes, and I think everyone involved in theatre in Southern California knows it.
See it while it’s here.
- Paul Storiale, stagehappenings.com
Regional Premiere of RENT Rocks Long Beach.
Right from the start, there is a palpable freshness and energy in the hands of this eager cast, under the direction of Nick DeGruccio.
– Michael L. Quintos, Broadway World
Musical Theatre West has been given the honor of being the first professional regional theatre company to produce their own production of this musical. The result is a refreshing and inspiring breath of life to a show that celebrates the "No Day But Today" credo that resonates throughout the play. Director Nick DeGruccio pays homage to the original production while deftly incorporating his own vision that focuses on the character’s relationships to one another. Musical Theatre West could not have been a better choice to kick off the new life that Rent will enjoy at a regional level. Not all productions will be great, but at least this first one has set the standard for what it should be - it may well have surpassed even the original production, if not at least matched it on all levels.
- Obed Medina, EDGE