An Iowa native who started in showbiz by running a studio camera for a Cedar Rapids T.V. station is back in her home state this week as the stage manager for the national touring production of “Rent.” Melissa Chacone has been helping call the show’s shots since late in 2001 — and explains what it is she does behind the scenes. Chacone says it’s her job to “maintain the artistic integrity of the show,” making sure whatever the director has said needs to happen -does- happen on stage, just like during rehearsals and technical rehearsals. Chacone is a Des Moines native who now lives in New York City, with degrees from the University of Iowa and Rutgers. She says it’s chaotic backstage at a big production like “Rent,” but she wouldn’t want to trade it for any other line of work.Chacone has been on the road with “Rent,” with a few breaks, since December of 2001. She knows every line of dialogue and every song by heart — and has seen or heard the production literally many hundreds of times. Still, she says the theatre life is in her blood, she never grows tired of the nomadic existence and insists, it’s never the same show twice.”Rent, ” a story of struggling young New York City artists, has won a host of awards, including the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, in addition to the winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It’s playing at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines through Sunday and will play in Cedar Rapids in May.
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