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February 8 - 25, 2024

Music, lyrics, & book by Jonathan Larson

Directed by Reed Flores

RENT

“dreams, love and conflicts provide the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical…exuberant, passionate and joyous!”

Set in the East Village of New York City, Rent is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Rent has become a pop cultural phenomenon with songs that rock and a story that resonates with audiences of all ages. Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s Rent follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. This is theatre at its best – exuberant, passionate and joyous!

RENT is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com

Cast & Production

*Actors & creatives appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

Show Cast
Alexi Darling, Blanket Person, Roger’s Mom, EnsembleKristy Aquino
AngelJesse Cortez
JoanneSolona Husband
MarkEdward Im
Ensemble, Mimi’s MomLillian Kurtz
RogerBrandon Leland*
Restaurant Man, EnsembleLoren Madrigal
BennyJamari McGee
MaureenDanielle Mendoza
Steve, The Man, EnsembleJohn Ramirez-Ortiz
MimiMay Ramos
Squeegee Man, Mark’s Mom, EnsembleKim Seipel
Mr. Jefferson, Homeless Man, Mr. Grey, EnsembleCJ Strickland
CollinsDedrick Weathersby*
Creative team
DirectorReed Flores
Musical DirectorDiana Lee
ChoreographerGabe Igtanloc
Costume DesignerNolan Miranda
Asst. Costume DesignerArmando Breiz
Intimacy ChoreographerBessie Zolno
Stage ManagerJustin Travis Buchs*
PropsReed Flores
Scenic / ProjectionsSteve Muterspaugh
Asst. Stage Manager, Scenic ArtistPaulino Deleal
Lighting DesignPamila Gray
Sound DesignJeff Mockus
Sound OpSheraj Ragoobeer
Sound Op (Sub)Brandie Larkin
Production AssistantNicki Weppner
Production AssistantMia Hangai

Headshots & Bios

Kristy Aquino
Jesse Cortez
Solona Husband
Edward Im
Lillian Kurtz
Brandon Leland*
Loren Madrigal
CJ Strickland
Jamari McGee
Danielle Mendoza
John Ramirez-Ortiz
May Ramos
Kim Seipel
Dedrick Weathersby*

*Actors appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

Media

For captions and high res files, please go to our press gallery

Thank you to our season sponsor

Coming Up at Hillbarn Theatre

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In My Opinion

By Alan Hafter

The rock musical, Rent, which was written by Jonathan Larson, is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. The opera took place in 1800’s Paris while the musical occurs in the Lower East Side of NYC in the late 1980’s. Both deal with epidemics of their time. In the opera the players contend with tuberculosis while in Rent the impoverished young artists must deal with HIV/AIDS.

To some theatregoers, Rent, may be crude and offensive but it is about living life and affirming that there is “no day but today.” It is about embracing life and pursuing it to the fullest.

The musical will be an eyeopener to our younger audiences who were not alive during this time; to our older patrons it may even be offensive due to the dialogue and sensitive subject matter. But open your minds and hearts when experiencing this show. This is theatre at its best and should not be missed.

I rate it PG-13 to R

Kristy Aquino

Ensemble

Bio coming soon…

Jesse Cortez

Angel

Jesse (he/him) is “over the moon” to be returning to the Hillbarn stage for one of his bucket list roles! Member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, he last appeared on this stage as Carmen Ghia in The Producers. Other recent theater credits include Assassins (Hillbarn Theater), Kinky Boots (Berkeley Playhouse) and In the Heights (Berkeley Playhouse). He would like to thank his boyfriend, Timothy, for covering him with 1,000 kisses.
Follow him on Tiktok/Instagram: @jessecortezmusic

Solona Husband

Joanne

Solona (she/her) is so excited to be making her debut at Hillbarn Theater! Solona has been doing musical theater since she was in kindergarten and hopes to do it forever! Her most notable roles in the Bay Area include; Ti Moune, in Once on This Island (Plethos Productions), Amelie, in Amelie (Masquers Playhouse), Sandy Cheeks, in The Spongebob Musical (Palo Alto Players), and Ariel in The Little Mermaid (Sunnyvale Community Players) She’d like to thank her mom for always believing in her!
@Solonstage

Edward Im

Mark

Edward (he/him/his) is excited to make his debut with Hillbarn Theatre! Recent credits include Triumph of Love (Shotgun Players), Il Ducato/The Mikado (Lamplighters), and Gypsy (42nd St Moon). When not on stage, Edward is also a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. He holds a minor in Theatre & Performance Studies from UC Berkeley, where he also earned BAs in Economics and Computer Science – Go Bears!

Lillian Kurtz

Ensemble

Lillian (she/her/hers) is absolutely thrilled to be joining Hillbarn Theater’s production of RENT. Her most recent Bay Area theater credits include In The Heights at Center Repertory Theater in Walnut Creek and Mame at 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco. She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support through the many years of her acting career.

Brandon Leland*

ROGER

Brandon (he/him/his) is incredibly grateful to be making his Hillbarn debut, in what has always been a dream role. Theatre credits include Little Shop of Horrors with Theatreworks (Audrey 2 Puppeteer), We Are Proud to Present… (Actor 3), The Rainmaker (Jim Curry) at San Jose Stage Company, and Colossal (Football Player/Understudy Mike) with SF Playhouse. Also a songwriter and musician, Brandon has had the opportunity to tour the country with his former band Till i Fall, and drum ensemble Street Drum Crops, including a 2018 performance at the EDC festival in Las Vegas. @brandon_leland

Loren Madrigal

Ensemble

Loren (they/them) is thrilled to making their Hillbarn Theatre debut in RENT, one of their favorite musicals of all time! Recent credits include Heathers and RENT, both with Skyline College. In addition to performing on stage, they are a music major and a member of Skyline College’s symphonic band. They express their gratitude to all of their loved ones for their love and support!

CJ Strickland

Ensemble

This is CJ’s first show with Hillbarn. He’s had the pleasure of performing with Plethos Productions on Avenue Que (Gary Coleman), Once on this Island (Ton ton Julian), In the Heights (Benny), and a few other outstanding shows! CJ has also performed with Pinole Community players in A Chorus Line (Ritchie). CJ has been doing community theatre for about 6 years, enjoys it, and learns something different each time!

Jamari McGee

Ensemble

Bio coming soon…

Danielle Mendoza

Maureen

Danielle (she/her) is unbelievably grateful for the opportunity to play this iconic role in one of her ultimate dream shows. Recent credits include Tay Jing in Tiananmen the Musical (ATC), Anne Boleyn in SIx the Musical (NCL), Swing in Ruthless (NCTC), and Basketcase in Brat Pack (Feinstein’s). Thank you so much to all my friends and family that continue to support me in this amazing journey. We hope you enjoy the show! @daniemendomusic

John Ramirez-Ortiz

Ensemble

John is a local Bay Area actor, director and teaching artist. As a director, he has worked on shows such as Seussical, Alice in Wonderland and Frozen. His favorite Onstage roles include LeFou in Beauty and The Beast, Papa Ge in Once on This Island, Piragua Guy in In The Heights, William Barfeé in Spelling Bee and Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone. Shout out to JD for being the best husband!

May Ramos

Mimi

May (they/them) is a queer Ilokano artist, educator, and advocate. Recent credits include Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Shotgun Players), Ensemble in Red Shades: A Trans Superhero Rock Opera (Z Space), and the Princess in Brat Pack (Feinstein’s). They’re also a burlesque and drag artist, Calypso Paradise @calypso.paradise. RENT is their favorite show, and it’s a dream come true to be a part of it! So much love to their family and queer community.

Kim Seipel

Ensemble

Kim is thrilled to be in her first production at Hillbarn! Previous favorite roles include The Millworker in Working: A Musical (SCP), ‘B’ in Three Tall Women (Pear Theatre), Anne Cannon in Silent Sky (PSP), Government Clerk in Bright Star (Coastal Repertory), and as part of the Ensemble in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (SCP). Much love to my family and friends who are always there for me. I hope you enjoy this heartfelt rock opera!

Dedrick Weathersby*

Collins

Dedrick (he/him) makes his Hillbarn Theatre debut with RENT. An Emmy Award Winner for Best Interview and Discussion with Theatre Corner on PBS, NAACP Winner for Best Actor in a Musical and Multiple Broadway World Awards Winner. Notable Credits include the National Tour of Dreamgirls and Remembering James The Life and Music of James Brown, along with appearances with African American Shakespeare Company, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Broadway by The Bay, 42nd Street Moon, The Carnegie Theatre, The Guild Theater, The Legendary Apollo Theater and The Barnsdall Theatre in East Hollywood, to name a few. Dedrick can be seen in numerous commercials Regional and Nationally “Is That Him” Yes it’s Me. If you’re a video game enthusiast, grab a copy of NBA 2K24 and enjoy Dedrick’s “My Player” character. All Glory Goes to GOD for his never failing Favor, Grace and Mercy.
Social- @dedrickweathersby
Website- www.dedrickweathersby.com

Actors Name

Character

Brigitte (she/hers)  is a native Bay Area actress and theatre maker. When Brigitte is not on the stage she is taking your calls managing the Hillbarn Box office. Brigitte Is very excited to be back performing on the Hillbarn stage with such an incredible wealth of bay area talent. Some past roles include Ensemble/swing in Kinky Boots (ROLT), Kelly Manning in The Mad Ones & Heather Chandler in Heathers (PSP), Ali in Mamma Mia (San Jose Stage Co), Poppy in Noises Off (Hillbarn Theatre), Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods (LASC).