PUTTING a musical together can be a tricky beast at the best of times, but despite a change of cast, Orange Theatre Company's production of Rent enjoyed a remarkably smooth rehearsal run.
They finished learning all the music and choreography more than two weeks early and began dress rehearsals on Easter Monday.
Director Sam Fuda said it was a credit to his production team to stay on schedule ahead of opening night on May 23.
"It's sounding amazing," he said.
"It's nice to have a bit of colour instead of sweatpants and sweat tops when you have to imagine people as police officers - now they actually are police officers."
The show really goes into the heavy material and that struggle, because there's no cure for AIDS - they can treat it, but back then they were a lot worse off.Alan Moxey
Rent tells the story of a group of young artists trying to survive in New York in the '90s amid the AIDS epidemic and drug use.
Real-life couple Alan and Aisleen Moxey were to play lovers Roger Davis and Mimi Marquez until Mrs Moxey needed surgery on her leg and had to withdraw.
Chorus member Hannah Wisse stepped in to fill the void and Mr Moxey said it was good to be working with his Legally Blonde castmate.
"She's always very professional and it was nice to have that relationship before that," he said.
Mr Moxey said his character faced a tough challenge through the show, trying to write a song after being diagnosed HIV-positive.
"The show really goes into the heavy material and that struggle, because there's no cure for AIDS - they can treat it, but back then they were a lot worse off," he said.
"I'm having lessons on my rock voice, we're singing from start to finish with very little dialogue - I'm really excited to get the band behind us."
Also with a challenging role will be Allie Burgess, who will play bisexual activist Maureen Johnson, who rallies the characters when they're evicted from their homes.
"She has no inhibitions, it's a bit scary to put yourself out there like that," she said.
At 19, Jack Daintith is part of the age group usually paying the rent, but will appear as landlord Benjamin 'Benny' Coffin III.
"It's a bit challenging playing him at such a young age, but I've loved it," he said.
Mr Fuda said the intention was to keep the show honest and raw.
"I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been touched by someone with an addiction or disease, or someone who feels they're not supposed to be on this planet and we try to tap into that every time," he said.
The production will run one weekend only from Thursday, May 23 until Sunday, May 26.
Adults are $52.50 and pensioners and concession are $47, available through Ticketek online and Orange Civic Theatre box office.
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