After the huge success of Grease- Live starring Aaron Tveit, Fox tries again to conquer the audience with Rent – Live but at the end, it would be better if they were able to pretend this time they were airing Rent: The Musical That Goes Wrong.
All begins the day before airing when the lead actor Brennin Hunt breaks his ankle during dress rehearsal and no understudy is working on the part. Panic. What to do? Which is the best option at this point?
Actually, there are few alternatives… but Fox chooses the worst one so, what we saw yesterday on tv, was mostly a replay of Saturday’s rehearsal with a live emotional finale featuring singalong cameos from the original Rent cast.
Obviously, it’s hard, at this point, to decide what was bad because was supposed to be a rehearsal and what would be bad anyway… What we can say is that Rent has everything to be another explosive live musical… but has Hunt the same talent to be outstanding like Aaron Tveit was with Zuko‘s slick-backed hair or when he was on stage in Roger shoes with Vanessa Hudges as Mimi? We strongly doubt it. Probably some camera problems, some of the audience performance (during Today For You we were barely able to hear Valentina‘s opening bars) and some actor imperfect vocal performances would be better in the live and that’s not exactly a good thing if you think how close to the opening are dress rehearsals.
If the show was dramatically flat; and we disagree with some casting choices, we need to be fair about what was great too.
First of all Vanessa Hudges so goddamn good performance (wept in Over The Moon) as Maureen. Jordan Fisher (he was in Grease Live too with Hudges and Tveit) as Mark rocks as well as Brandon Victor and Kiersey Clemons.
Rent is based on La Bohème but it is set during the late ’80s AIDS crisis in New York. Production designer Jason Sherwood created a multi-staged, multi-leveled New York City worth the watching as well as Alex Rudzinski (Grease Live director too) noticeable work.
In 1996 people were sleeping on the street to get in to see Rent, and with the movie release in 2005 lyrics became known by heart by every theater-lover person. Now, in 2019, the musical is engaging a new audience. Lots of small, internal cuts to shorten the show’s runtime were likely unnoticeable to casual fans (RIP food order from La Vie Bohème).
For sure we learn the importance to have understudies also for this new live musicals trend.
We really hope in another shot for Rent: Live, maybe it is just five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes away.