HCT_JuanHolguinRentHickory – The story of Rent is set into motion by the character of Benjamin Coffin, III, who was once a roommate of four major characters – Mark, Roger, Maureen and Tom Collins.

Before the events in Rent, Coffin moved out, married into a wealthy family and bought the building where his four friends live. Although he originally offered to let Roger and Mark live there rent free, he calls them in the first scene of the play to tell them they not only have to start paying, but they also now owe him a year’s back rent. This conflict kicks the story into gear and influences several pivotal scenes.

Although he starts off as an antagonist, he also influences the audience’s journey toward celebrating life and love. In the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of Rent, the character of Coffin is played by Juan Holguin.

Born in Juarez, Mexico, he arrived in Hickory just six months ago by way of Colorado and South Dakota. While in Colorado he played major roles in both Les Misérables (Ejolras) and Crazy for You (Bobby Child) before moving on to South Dakota. While up in the frozen north, he studied vocal performance and dance while working as a choreographer. He moved to Hickory because he has family here and because, as he said, “he is running toward something bigger.”

When asked about why he chose to audition for this production, he said, “It’s Rent! I’ve been waiting to audition for this show and it was perfect timing. I finally get the play the bad guy. I’m just another starving artist trying to make a difference in this world.”

Performances of Rent are 8:00 pm Fridays & Saturdays, 7:30 pm Thursdays, and 2:30 Sundays, May 12 through June 4, 2017. Tickets are $20. There is a senior discount of $2 and tickets for students and youth 18 and under are just $10. Tickets for Thursday performances are $16 for adults and $10 for students and youth. Tickets may be purchased online at hickorytheatre.showare.com or at the theatre box office. The box office is open 12-5 Wed through Sat in person or by calling 828-328-2283.

Rent is produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and Catawba Valley Medical Center. This show is the ninth production of the Theatre’s 68th season, sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

This production is recommended for mature audiences only because of adult language and sexual situations.

PHOTO: Juan Holquin plays Benjamin Coffin, III, in the Hickory Community Theatre’s production of the rock musical Rent, on stage May 12 – June 4. Photo is by John Koval.