Saturday, September 06, 2008

525,600 Moments

Actually, almost more like 13 x 525,600 Minutes. And a million more special moments. At least to me. While I recognize it isn't the perfect musical that I believed during my insane Renthead years, it still has a special place in my heart that greatly affected my earlier years, and it still ranks in my top musicals of all time.

Rent finally closes on Broadway tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 7th) after over 12 years at the Nederlander Theatre (after moving from its initial Off-Broadway East Village Workshop), and times may have changed, a new generation can now watch the show, ticket prices may have skyrocketed (top price was $67.50!!! when it first opened! Wow, that's CHEAP by todays standards) since 1996 but as the New York Times has written, the legacy of Jonathan Larson and his music will forever endure.

Here's the original cast of Rent at the 10th Anniversary reunion singing "Seasons of Love":

Here's the current cast (including Tamyra Gray, Adam Kantor, Will Chase and Eden Espinosa, here in a behind the scenes video, holy, how cute is Kantor?) AND the original cast of Rent at this years 2008 Tony Awards:

The show has been going on so long that it has even surpassed an ill-conceived revival in the London's West End that Abercrombie and Fitchified the show, and yet even THEN, it still sounds great:

While I also didn't LOVE the movie version, (I felt Chris Columbus took away the soul of the musical while trying to throw up as literal a film as he could), here's some of my favorite moments, mainly because they are still my favorite songs/moments in the musical.

"Will I":

"Life Support" (with Wayne Wilcox (Gilmore Girls)):

A new cinematic version of Rent is coming out this month (Sept, 24, 25, 27, 28) to movie theatres which is the live taping of the current Broadway performance that was filmed on August 21st and edited along with tomorrow's final performance.

Oh, all those special songs and moments... "One Song Glory", "Out Tonight", "La Vie Boheme", "Tango Maureen", "Halloween", "Take Me or Leave Me", "I'll Cover You" and on and on...I think I played the Original Cast Recording CD at LEAST 500 times. (I averaged about 3 full plays a day (the FULL musical) for about the first 3 years after it came out on disc, driving my roomates completely mad and completely hating me until THEY finally saw the musical and then asked to borrow the CD so that THEY could play it 3 times a day for the next few years (true story)).

And while I saw a performance of Rent on Broadway again last year, and it felt a bit carbon copied from the original (especially pronounced because originals Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp had returned in full glory to the production), the show will always have spurred the careers of Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, and Jesse L. Martin amongst many others, and it now seems like the requisite play for any young theatre performer to have on their resume.

Alas, Jonathan Larson's message of seasons of love and living as no day but today will forever ring as my own life's mantra, and hopefully many new generations will get to experience Rent other than Broadway, be it through the new National Tour, high school or community productions, or the new live recording, and hopefully the musical will touch someone else's life as it touched mine.

"Finale B (No Day But Today":


Linz McC said...

Hear hear! Good post to celebrate its long run. I love how the crowd freaks out in that first video when the original cast comes out.

That remix cast only sounds good on that ONE song because they actually didn't change it (unlike the ruining job they did on all the others...).

And... Do you have Jonathan Groff on the brain?? I assume you meant Jonathan Larson, but I imagine you only have room for one Jonathan obsession at a time. :-D

Vance said...

Oops. Okay, I fixed it.

Honey, I ALWAYS have Jonathan Groff on the brain... hehe...

but this time I'm going to blame the jetlag on my mistake.