On Sun., Sept. 7, the lights dimmed permanently for Rent, the seventh-longest running show in Broadway history and a '90s pop culture phenomenon. Along with a Pulitzer Prize, the show garnered a legion of dedicated fans and a truly awful stage-to-screen adaptation.
The final performance of Rent featured appearances by some of the show's original cast members, including Anthony Rapp, Law & Order's Jesse L. Martin and Daphne Rubin-Vega. The production was filmed live and will be shown in movie theaters across the nation for four evenings only. For those who shelled out $10 to see Chris Columbus' 2005 screen adaptation and left the theater feeling cheated, don't be weary about forking over more dough.
For $20--exactly what you'd pay if you entered the lottery at the Nederlander--you'll get to see all the nuances, dialogue and musical numbers that the film either massacred (the Maureen-Joanne wedding was almost too embarrassing to watch) or completely deleted. It was nice to see the original cast reunited for the movie, but (all returned with the exception of Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker) maybe they were too old, or simply too emotionally connected to the stage, because everything felt out of place. It disgraced the memory of Rent creator Jonathon Larson, who tragically died just days before the show's Broadway debut.
Larson's story centers around illegal squatters and struggling artists Mark and Roger, who along with their tight-knit group of friends, are living in the East Village in the late '80s during the AIDS epidemic. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour musical, the audience follows their yearlong journey. It's a sprawling rock opera with catchy tunes and memorable characters.
For fans who didn't get to say good-bye to their beloved show, this will be a bittersweet send-off. For those who never got the chance to see Rent on Broadway, experiencing this show in theaters will be the next best thing.