OK, so there's a drag queen, an AIDS-infected S&M nightclub dancer, and a songwriter living in the East Village... No, it's not an episode of MTV's Real World. It's Rent, the famed musical set to rock Fort Lauderdale this weekend.
The award-winning play is based on Puccini's La Boheme but was given a creative slap in the 1980s to make it more timely. The characters -- all starving artists -- attempt to figure out where their lives and careers have gone awry. In true operatic nature, they put their woes to music. Take, for example, the finale, a cheery tune that will surely put the audience in the holiday spirit: "Christmas bells are ringing/How time flies/When compassion dies/No stocking/No candy canes/No gingerbread/No safety net/No loose change." To add to the upbeat nature of this production, bask in the thought that you are being watched from above by Rent's creator, Jonathan Larson, who died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 35 the night before the show's first off-Broadway performance.
Rent will be performed Friday and Saturday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $20 to $64. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org. -- Riki Altman
Finally. Lake Worth is no longer just another town to pass on the way to West Palm Beach. Now that local bands like eL have taken to Brogue's Irish Pub (621 Lake Ave.), the city has more to boast of than street painting and social protests. If you're not familiar with eL, listen up, 'cause this band knows how to write a tune. Sure, you can call it indie rock, but only in the broadest sense; eL employs far more hooks and rhythmic changes than the Ambien-fueled stuff of less inspired bands. There's a near equal emphasis on the tunage and the rockage -- and with none of the pretensions of the bedhead crowd. Think U2 meets Coldplay -- cranked up to 10. eL performs at 10 p.m. Friday at Brogue's with Orlando rockers the Kick. It's free for ages 21 and up, $5 for those under 21. Call 561-585-1885. -- Jason Budjinski
The Maine Man
Not the main mon
Robert. Robby. Rob. Bobby. Bob Marley the comedian could have used any of these names to distinguish himself from Bob Marley the legendary musician. But then again, why wouldn't he want to keep such an attention-getting moniker? Especially when the Maine-born funnyman has already built a reputation opening for such mega-comics as Dana Carvey and Adam Sandler -- not to mention shootin' the breeze with every talk-show host from Craig Kilborn to Diane Sawyer. This is one New Englander you won't mind a visit from this season. Marley performs Thursday through Sunday at the Palm Beach Improv at CityPlace (550 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach). Tickets cost $12.72 to $15.90. Call 561-833-1812. -- Jason Budjinski
That's My Bro
AC/DC's Angus Young isn't the only Aussie Angus in a band with his bro. Meet Angus Richardson, who shares the stage with brother Hamish in the groove-inspired band Brother. The siblings use anything from bagpipes to didgeridoos to create what they call mongrel music. Uncanny! Brother performs at 9 tonight at Alligator Alley (1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park). Tickets cost $5. 954-771-2220. -- Jason Budjinski