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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop


How the Missoula Community Theater reached beyond the stage and into the community
Abigail Gilbert
The full cast of RENT singing Seasons Of Love

For those in Missoula, history was made as our very own Missoula Community Theater (MCT) put on the production of RENT, making them the first theater in Montana to ever do the full production. Now, not only is this a beautiful show that has a wonderful story, MCT took it beyond just the stage and the production, but reached out to the community and brought people together. This was not just another one of MCT’s musicals.

The entire cast and crew was dedicated to the telling of the incredibly moving story that many of us grew up watching.

— Jacob Logan

As the story follows friends in New York who are doing what they can to avoid paying the rent, it expands on so much more than that. It brings to light the struggles in not only poverty but also the queer community. Not only do these apply to the setting of the show in the 90s, but of course can have something to say in our modern society. MCT was able to partner with the Gay Health Test Force and our LGBTQIA+ Center to offer free syphilis and Hiv testing. The equality and community built from this show was nothing short of beautiful.

Some of our very own Sentinel Spartans had the opportunity to go see the show and have nothing but amazing things to say about it. Some pointed out that they noticed recycled sets from other shows making an appearance, and also the new environmentally friendly (and beautiful)  LED lighting system. These additions are to be noted as MCT does an amazing job of trying their best to be waste free, like including there reusable cups that people can bring to any of the shows they come to. Now, as these speak for the technical side of theater, there is also to be a note of the talent itself.

Despite the many who auditioned for the show, only the selected 22 were chosen for the production, and wow did they prove themselves on stage. In theater there are people known as triple threat, meaning that they can sing, act, and dance, and none of these were absent in any of the performers on stage.

One of which, Jacob Logan, who played Mark, says that “the entire cast and crew was dedicated to the telling of the incredibly moving story that many of [them] grew up watching” 

A moment in this show that will be told forever at MCT, as it’s not something that happens every day, is that one of the Thursday shows was interrupted by an unexpected guest. Because there is a lot of fake smoke and fog for the show, MCT has to turn off all the smoke alarms so they are enacted during the performance. Unfortunately, on that Thursday night, one of the smoke alarms in the basement had been missed, and you know what that means. 

Logan recalls the time and claims that although it was really unfortunate as it added an hour long intermission, it couldn’t have come at a better time. The alarm and flashing lights went off right at the end of the song Viva La Vie Boheme, which is the number that leads right into the already planned intermission. Logan remembered being on stage and said that all of his cast mates played it off smoothly, but at first the audience thought the strobing lights were all part of the production. As the piano did the “fastest glissando I’ve ever heard,” the scene ended and everyone was off running to the library or the parking lot. 

Though there was no fire, the fire department was still mandated to come and give a sweep of the whole building before the production could start again. 

Another memorable moment for anyone that watches RENT with any cast or theater, is the moment when the beloved character Angle dies. As it is built up, the wonderful person Angel is, and the character they bring to the show, it’s undeniable to not admit that of the three hundred plus audience members, there were sure to be tears rolling down cheeks. 

As the show comes to an end, the story and its relevance do not cease to fade away. “This show is important because it tells of a time period where people lost their lives alone, so many people ignored, shunned, embarrassed, afraid, are yet to still in the face of such sorrow there was still love, support, perseverance, and individuality that we can all learn from,” says Jacob Logan when asked what he benefited most from the show, and never could a statement be more true. 

Because of this community that had the opportunity of bringing to light an amazing and inclusive story, it offered entertainment, but much more, a true sense of community.

About the Contributor
Kelsie LaRocque, Reporter