The cast of “Rent” is ready to share this Broadway musical story, and their emotions, with a live audience. The Waldo Theatre will open the production’s first of two runs Friday night, Aug. 16, at the Main Street/Route 220 venue. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17, at 7:30 p.m. A second run, with some cast adjustment, will play two weekends in September.

Jonathan Larson's “Rent” resonates with people who question their roles in society, people who have loved, lost, coped, laughed and cried. Although the story is a powerful one, the beauty of it is that many find a parallel story within themselves — "How do you measure a year in the life?" as the most renowned song in the show asks the audience.

The Waldo cast includes both local stars and newcomers, and some actors have come from far afield to be a part of it. Among those familiar to Waldo audiences are Tod Widdecombe and Mallory Smith-Adams, who recently co-starred in the Waldo’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”; Widdecombe also co-wrote (with Corey Honkonen) and directed “Inferno Bar and Grill,” which premiered in Camden and had a revival on the Waldo stage last year. Widdecombe and Smith-Adams play Roger and Mimi in “Rent.”

College-bound Griffin Han-Lalime also has been a part of the Waldo in years past and is best known for his work in the Damariscotta area. Most recently, he was in a student produced and directed “Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog” and won a Maine Drama Festival award for his role in Lincoln Academy’s “Silk Cove.”

Principal players also returning to the Waldo stage are Tabitha Ordway and Cayleigh Hearth, who play Maureen and Joanne. Ordway was in last month’s “The Secret Garden,” as well as many other shows at the Waldo and in Camden. Hearth has been in numerous shows in the Midcoast area and studies voice with Beth Preston. Other returnees in “Rent” are Michael Juchnik (Squeegee Man), Justice Kennedy, Brad Fillion (Benny in August/Mark in September) and Elizabeth Vega (Mark's Mom/Bag Lady).

The balance of the cast consists of newcomers to the Waldo including Roger Marcotte (Collins) and Kyle Aarons (Angel). Rockland native Marcotte studied Musical Theatre Performance under Ed Riechert at the University of Southern Maine, where he directed a production of Christopher Durang's "Titanic" that was selected by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Aarons, who commutes from the Brunswick area, has a BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia. In addition to performing, he is a director, writer, musician and conductor; and is working on an original Christmas play for the Waldo.

Other newcomers are Chris Gray (Benny in September), Catie Larie (Alexi Darling), Rae Cerce (Joanne's mother), Phoebe Mendes, Patricia Saucier, Latricia Saucier, Allison Roberts, Merissa Madarasz (Mimi's mom), Eric Marshall, Elizabeth Poulos, Sabrina Turner (soloist in “Seasons of Love”), Christopher Powers (The Man) and Haley Bascom.

The show is directed by Melissa Hearth with music direction by Sean Fleming, choreography by Kyle Aarons, lights by Jim Buckingham, sound by Chuck McGregor, tech by Mary Ann Giasson, set by Tod Widdecombe and Chris Powers and stage management by Chris Powers. During the performances, money will be collected for the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Newcastle and the Hospitality House in Rockland; and red ribbons will be sold to raise money for Equity Fights AIDS.

Given the adult nature of the show, anyone younger than age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and senior citizens; there is a $2 discount per ticket when purchased in blocks of 10 or more (send email to melissa@thewaldo.org). Tickets are available at the Community Pharmacy in Waldoboro and at Maine Coast Books in Damariscotta.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.