Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No More Rent To Pay

I guess the slipping attendance showed signs of the inevitable but Rent is closing on Broadway on June 1st 2008, after a 12 year run that has surpassed all expectations of the bohemian musical that started my Broadway musical obsession streak (the torch which has now been passed onto Spring Awakening).

The original Rent, which won 4 Tony's and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, even survived long enough to be revived at the same time AND will surpass that run as well. The Rent Remix revival playing in London that opened to abysmal reviews (youtube clips of the remixed songs after the jump below) is closing Feb. 2nd 2008 after opening this past fall.

Oh man, I will admit, after I finally saw Rent again this summer (my 11th time having not seen it in 10 years) back in the Nederlander Theatre, even with the original Mark and Roger, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal (who totally still rocked their roles), the Broadway production of Rent felt a bit like a carbon copy of a carbon copy of the energetic original and the show lacked the impact it first had when I became obsessed with the musical over 10 years ago. (Still, if you now want to catch Rent one last time before the original Broadway production closes forever, use the discount code "WBOX" for performances before March 23rd. Details here).

The good news is that the closing of the Broadway production now allows the show to be presented by community theatres and schools (oh wait, is that good news?), and I'm sure there will always be productions and touring companies all around the world. Still, the Nederlander was revived when Rent moved in, and hasn't been empty since, so it'll be a bit different down there on 41st Street from now on.

And say what you will about the show but if we didn't have Rent, we might not have gotten Taye Diggs or Idina Menzel (or they might not have hooked up and gotten married), or Jesse L. Martin (oh god, Jesse L. Martin, whose voice sent SHIVERS down my spine when he would sing "I'll Cover You (Reprise)"). And Spring Awakening definitely benefited from Rent. The show lasted 12 years for a reason! (ha Chris Bond, you were SO wrong!)

Ah, the memories of my obsessive days when I would listen to the whole Cast Recording about 5 times a day (not kidding) and drive my roommates mad until they finally saw the show themselves years later and would ask to borrow my CD to play it ad naseum. Good times, good times.

Here's the Original Broadway Cast Press Clip Reel:

I only wish the movie were better but one of my favorite songs turned out really well (thank goodness) in the movie, with my favorite Gilmore Girl boy (Marty) Wayne Wilcox leading the short song "Life Support" which is still one of my favorite songs, as brief as it may be:

And just for continuity, here's the second song from the Life Support meeting, "Will I?":

and here's the Original Broadway Cast of Rent at the Tony Awards that cemented my excitement for the show (though the sound/visual quality isn't great):

Now, for curiosity's sake, here's a couple of sound clips from Rent Remixed which at times doesn't sound that different, other times, you want to scream, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE (particularly to "What You Own" which is unrecognizable). You can also dub it the Abercrombie & Fitch Techno'd edition of Rent:
(Top Left: "One Song Glory/Light My Candle", Top Right: An Unrecognizable "What You Own"
Middle Left: "Life Support", Middle Right: "Seasons of Love"
Bottom Left: A Techno'd "Take Me or Leave Me", Bottom Right: A jazzier "Out Tonight/Another Day")

Hmm... I still shudder at the Rent Remix but I'm fascinated by the process of re-doing the whole show. Either way, both Rent is going down in London and New York this year, as the musical baton gets passed onto the next generation of musicals.

Still, thank you Jonathan Larson for writing Rent!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I 100% used to know that entire album by heart. I was SUCH a Renthead back in my younger, wilder days. ;) I think I may head up to NY to see it one last time...even if it won't be like the good old days.