What you think of this show depends a lot on what you think of rock
musicals. I'm not a fan, but was ultimately won over by the sheer
enthusiasm, energy, passion and emotion of cast members in this
Hollywood Bowl production. What RENT lacks in nuance or sophistication
is compensated by a joy and openness that speaks as much to the
exuberance of youth as to the specifics of the story (whose somewhat
dated AIDS subplots lock it into late last century). Wayne Brady —
much missed as a performer since his Dave Chappelle “James Brown” turn
— shows bang-up musical chops. Vanessa Hudgens is on her way to
adulthood; her turn as Mimi is more a preview of what she has yet to
offer. But the show's breakout splash is Aaron Tveit as Roger —
devastating good looks, charisma that reaches all the way up the
amphitheatre, and a killer voice. This kid's going places. — Jeff

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