Did you catch Rent: Live on Sunday night? I watched it but since it didn’t end until 11 I wasn’t able to get a post up recapping my thoughts on it until today. So why do I have “Sort of” in the title? Well, when the show started there was a little caption in the corner that said “pre-recorded” and I wondered why. Was there something about the opening number that warranted it to be pre-recorded? After doing a quick search online I found out that one of the lead actors, Brennin Hunt, who plays Roger broke his foot the night before at the final dress rehearsal! It would later be revealed that the entire show, with the exception of the finale, would be from the taped rehearsal the day before.
I know some people were disappointed it wasn’t live, but I personally didn’t really care. That’s just me though. The performance was all done in front of a live audience during the dress rehearsal so it felt live or as live as it would feel for me on my couch anyway! Apparently it’s common practice to tape the dress rehearsal in case anything happens or there are any technical difficulties.
I also saw people online wondering why there were no understudies because if there was one for the role of Roger then they could’ve still done it live. I think having an understudy for a live tv performance isn’t really necessary and if it were done in this case it wouldn’t have been fair to Brennin Hunt. In regular Broadway shows if you’re sick and your understudy has to go on, you can just come back for the next show or a few days later and still perform for months (or even years) to come. But the live tv shows are a once in a lifetime shot and I think it would be so unfair for an accident to completely sideline you from this tv role that you’ve been preparing for for months.
In any case, I still enjoyed the show. I thought the performances were great and Vanessa Hudgens of course was amazing! I loved her in Grease: Live as well. I read someone’s comment somewhere saying Vanessa Hudgens should be in every live musical and I 100% agree!
For the finale scene, which was live, a few of the original cast members came out to perform “Seasons of Love” with the live cast and it was so cool to see them sing together! Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel were there. I love them all, though the only one I’ve seen live is Adam Pascal in Aida – which is still one of my favorite Broadway shows I’ve been to (I was also obsessed with that soundtrack). I never got to see Rent on Broadway, but when the movie came out back in 2005 I saw it in theaters and loved it. I listened to the soundtrack so much. I know everyone always gets moved by “Seasons of Love” which don’t get me wrong is a great song, but I always get emotional during “Finale B” which is a compilation of a few of the songs from the show including my favorites lines:
“There’s only us
There’s only this
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today”
Plus, it’s the ending and it has that large, emotional swell, you know what I mean?
Overall, I enjoyed the show. I thought it was cool that they did it in the round and the whole set was on that one stage which kept that live theater feel to it. It works for Rent since it is based in New York City and largely takes place in spaces like their apartment, on the street, or in the restaurant. It made sense for a live show like Grease to be sprawled out, but the one stage with the different tiers, moving balconies, etc. was perfect for Rent.
If you saw it, let me know what you thought!