Rent Rap

Sex and love — among strippers, rockers, trannies, smokin’-hot gays, befuddled straights and lipstick lesbians — are central to Rent, Jonathan Larson’s titillating, heartbreaking and uplifting Broadway sensation. Since the show closed on Broadway last year and performance rights were granted to community theaters, several local productions have graced metro stages. The latest 24-member cast claims the Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (5801 West 115th Street in Overland Park) for a run opening at 7:30 tonight with additional Saturday and Sunday performances through February 28. In a nod to another theme of Rent, the AIDS Memorial Quilt is on display in the theater’s lobby. “It’s really going to be a wonderful production,” says director Mark Swezey. “The piece is about love and loss, and making every day count — every second count that we’re alive.” Tickets cost $22, $15 for JCC members and $11 for students. Next week, actors and Rent-heads can get a little closer to the musical’s legacy when original cast member Anthony Rapp visits the JCC to lead master classes and talk on the theme of “Fighting for What Is Right.” Call 913-327-8054 for additional information or see

Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 14, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 13. Continues through Feb. 28, 2010