“RENT” is a Broadway musical that started in 1996. It is a show that depicts the lives of several characters living in the East Village of New York City. In the show, the characters face their own personal struggles—such as sexuality, drugs, paying rent and aids.
The show’s characters feature Mark Cohen, a struggling Jewish filmmaker, Roger Davis, an HIV-positive ex-rock musician; Mimi Maquez, an HIV-positive heroin addict who serves as Roger’s love interest; Rom Collins, a gay philosophy professor with AIDs; Angel Dumott Shrunard, a drag queen and street musician with aids who serves as Collin’s love interest; Maureen Johnson, Mark’s ex-girlfriend and a bisexual performance artist; Joanne Jefferson, who serves as Maureen’s love interest and a Harvard graduate; and Benny Coffin III, landlord of the building Mark, Roger and Mimi live in.
From its Broadway debut in 1996, Director Chris Columbus made a film adaptation of the Broadway musical featuring six of the original Broadway cast reprising their same roles.
The show was then reprised once again on Jan. 27, 2019, but this time with a twist. This is because Brennin Hunt who played as Roger broke his foot during dress rehearsal on Jan. 26.
So, instead of having Hunt do the whole show live in a wheelchair, the broadcast consisted mostly of a prerecording of the dress rehearsal from the prior night with only 15 minutes of the program performed live.
Since the show primarily consisted of a prerecording of the dress rehearsal, the actors didn’t give it 100 percent. This is due to the actors trying to save their voices for the live recording. But “RENT” is the type of show that if the actors are not giving it everything they have it is not worth watching, and it was clear the actors were singing off-key without the enthusiasm needed to make this show work.
Another thing I didn’t like about the show is how they did a live performance in a theatre for an audience while the viewers who were watching the TV broadcast had to sit through the trashy dress rehearsal.
This ticked me off because Hunt did perform the show in a wheelchair for this audience and from the videos posted on Twitter it sounded phenomenal. I was mad because FOX could have recorded the show live and given us the “RENT” experience we all deserved.
Although we were forced to watch a poorly performed dress rehearsal, FOX did grant us the final 15 minutes of the live show. During this segment of the show, viewers were able to see the live cast consisting of Jordan Fisher as Mark, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Valentina as Angel, Vanessa Hudgins as Maureen Johnson, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne and Mario as Benjamin perform the songs “Finale,” “Your Eyes,” and “Finale B.”
The viewers were also granted with an encore performance of “Seasons of Love,” the song that made ‘RENT’ what it is today. But in this performance, the live cast was joined onstage by the original 1996 Broadway cast, which consisted of Anthony Rapp, who played as Mark; Adam Pascal who played as Roger, Daphne Rubin-Vega who played as Mimi; Jesse L. Martin who played Collins; Wilson Jermaine Heredia who played as Angel; Idina Menzel who played as Maureen; Fredi Walker who played as Joanne; and Taye Diggs who played as Benny.
Even though the somewhat live version of the show on FOX was basically trash, I would suggest watching the original Broadway version of the show or the 2005 film adaptation to gain the full ‘RENT’ experience.