Thirty-one dollars. For that paltry amount you can occupy a primo 2' x 3' space, complete with comfortable chair in Allentown's Theatre District, for around two hours. It will be the best $31 you've spent in a long time, since you'll also be entertained by the extremely talented cast of RENT at Civic Theatre of Allentown. I was lucky enough to have such a seat on opening night this past Friday.

After a bite to eat at Robata of Tokyo, I headed over to Lehigh Valley'sart deco theater on 19th Street where I was greeted by tuxedo-clad volunteers and rubbed elbows with some of our local "who's who" on the red carpet. Unlike most in the crowd I never saw this show when it ran on Broadway (it only ran for 12 years), but I was familiar with the plot.

As the show began you could feel the passion the cast has for this story line. They instantly drew the me into the emotional roller coaster that starving artists in New York City experienced in the late 80s, wrought with sex, drugs, friendships and AIDS. I laughed, I cheered, I teared-up, I moo-ed, and I jumped to my feet for the well-deserved standing ovation at the end.

When seeing any live performance, I make a point of not reading the cast's bios until after the show so Michael Walsh is only "Roger" to me and Karissa Harris is just "Mimi". But I did have a Helen Keller "ah-ha!" moment when I realized that Angel was played by Jeramie Mayes, whose performance in Bat Boy at Muhlenberg College last year amazed me. Jeramie is such a chameleon; I can't begin to explain his talent.

Civic Theatre really hit a home run with this production! As their website states, they are "beyond excited" to bring Jonathan Larson's musical to you, and it shows.

Unlike it's run on Broadway, you can only catch RENT at Civic Theatre until May 23rd. Do you have your ticket yet?