Lil’ Rent

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Sam Docman… Beck Bennett

Janet V. … Cecily Strong

Lowell Devins… Mikey Day

Shawn Tesler… Kyle Mooney

Nathan Benson

Amy Mary Weather Sherman… Amy Schumer

[Starts with “Wake Up Denver” video bumper] [Cut to Sam in his set]

Sam: Welcome back to “Wake Up Denver’s early bird hour.” I’m Sam Docman. Our field correspondent Janet V. is at the Youth Theater Works Playhouse in Downtown, Denver where a big show is in the works. [Cut to split screen with Sam and Janet] Janet, what’s going on?

Janet: Well, Sam, I’m here at rehearsal with some of Denver’s most talented young Thespians.

Sam: Oh! Thespians rhymes with lesbians. Haba haba.

Janet: I don’t like that. Take him off the split screen.

[Cut to Janet]

The cast in Denver Youth Theater Works Annual Spring Musical is hard at work in their new show. And there’s about 525,600 reasons to see “Lil’ Rent” which opens Thursday. I’m joined now by very busy director, Lowell Devins.

[Janet walks to Lowell]

Lowell: Oh, hi. Sorry. It is a mad house. Hello. We’re in the middle of hell week which is living up to it’s name.

Janet: Lowell, so tell us about the show.

Lowell: Oh, right. Um, “Lil’ Rent” is in a bridged family friendly version of the hit musical about New York city artist living through the HIV AIDS crisis of the late 80s.

Janet: And how does “Lil’ Rent” handle the intense HIV AIDS subject matter with the cast of children?

Lowell: Right. Um, in “Lil’ Rent,” HIV AIDS has changed to diabetes. And it really doesn’t change things at all.

Janet: Really? It’s just that in the original HIV AIDS, that’s what rent’s about. Characters die from it. So, how did you go about changing the original script?

Lowell: Well, I used the ‘Find and Replace’ feature in Microsoft Word and replaced HIV AIDS with diabetes.

Janet: Okay.

Lowell: And I honestly think it’s more powerful this way. You’re gonna love it.

Janet: I don’t know about that. But let’s meet some of the cast here.

[Shawn and Nathan  joins them. Nathan  is a small boy wearing a leather jacket and has a guitar.]

Lowell: Oh, yes. [pointing at Shawn] This is the brilliant Shawn Tesler who plays Mark. [pointing at Nathan ] And you may have seen him in last falls, Lil’ Equis. It is Nathan Benson who plays Rogers.

Janet: Goodness. Oh, okay. I understand you’re gonna be doing a little scene for us?

Shawn: Um, yes, ma’am. This is a scene from act one where my character is singing about his friend Roger who is diabetes positive. And in the late 80s when the show takes place, diabetes was this new sexually transmitted disease that people didn’t know lot about. it was acary.

Nathan : Yeah. Back then, diabetes was basically a death sentence.

Lowell: Yes.

Janet: Well, it wasn’t. But go ahead.

[Janet and Lowell walk out. Lights turn blue and Shawn and Nathan  start performing.]

Shawn: They say diabetes is a gay disease. But Roger got diabetes having sex with his girlfriend. [pointing at Nathan ] [Nathan  starts playing guitar] [singing] Close on Roger, whose girlfriend left him a note saying
“We’ve got diabetes,” before slitting her wrist in the bathroom

Take your insulin, Roger!

[Lowell jumps in]

Lowell: And scene. Very powerful, boys. Ooh!

[Janet walks in. Shawn and Nathan  walk out.]

Janet: Okay, well, let’s meet more of the cast.

Lowell: Yes. [they walk to Amy] This is Amy Mary Weather Sherman, another rising star. She’s incredibly talented and fiercely conservative.

Amy: Yeah, hello. My name is Amy Mary Weather Sherman. [showing seven fingers]  And I am this many years old. My favorite political party is the republicans. And my favorite book is “Liar and Cheat”, how Obama killed the middle class. And also “Amelia Be Dealia Goes Camping.”

Janet: Okay, wow. Lot to take in there. Who are you playing?

Amy: Well, ma’am, I play Mimi Vasquez. She’s a Puerto Rican stripper, a heroin addict, who got diabetes by sharing an infected heroin needle.

Lowell: Alright, remember, we say dancer. Not stripper.

Amy: But she takes her clothes off.

Lowell: Okay. Tell em’ about your Spanish.

Amy: Oh, yes. Okay, so, ma’am, I learned some Spanish play maybe because she only speaks Spanish and I always speak white. But the way you say diabetes in Spanish is diabetos!

Janet: Alright. Well, how about we get to that song?

Lowell: Yes. Amy will be performing an excerpt from her big solo, “Out Tonight.”

[Janet and Lowell walk out]

Amy: This song is about my character is horny and she wants go find somebody have sex with.

[music playing] [singing] Let’s go, aiii, yiiiii, today,
I’m a Puerto Rican stripper
where I wanna go
aiii, yiiiii, today

[Lowell jumps in]

Lowell: And scene. Thank you Amy. [pointing at the camera] You wanna see the rest, you have to buy a ticket.

Amy: [chanting] Lock her up! Lock her up!

Lowell: No, don’t do that. Stop doing that. That’s for home. That’s for hom.

[Janet comes in]

Janet: Alright. You got a cast of talented kids here. “Lil’ Rent” opens Thursday and you can buy tickets online now for $175. My god!

Lowell: Do you think that’s too much?

Janet: Yeah. We’ll be right back.

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King is directing his fourteenth season of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him nine Emmys and thirteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for thirteen DGA Awards and won in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Mr. King is also the creative director of Broadway Worldwide which brings theatrical events to theaters. The company has produced Smokey Joe’s Café; Putting It Together with Carol Burnett; Jekyll & Hyde; and Memphis, all directed by Mr. King. He completed the screen capture of Broadway's Romeo & Juliet in 2013. - LinkedIn

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