Rent Final Broadway Cast Film

While Broadway may be black, theatre is still alive. Theater traces its roots to Ancient Greece. Since, there are been multiple pandemics, but still stays alive. While some tours are being postponed or cancelled, and The West End and Broadway are dark, there is still ways to see musicals. The most obvious comes from the musical movies: Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia, Live Action Aladdin, Live Action Beauty and the Beast, and Les Mis: examples. There is one more type of musical: the actual concerts and filmed stage shows. I own some of those: Les Mis’ 10th and 25th concert, Phantom of the Opera’s 25th special, and the final Rent Broadway Cast film.

Well, this post will specifically talk about the Rent Final Broadway Cast. I first fell in love with the musical Fall 2012. I don’t know how I discovered the musical, but think it was through Pandora. Ever since, I wanted to see the stage show, but the first version I would see of Rent is the Final Broadway Cast film. Rent is meaningful to me due to the message it conveys: live in the moment and in love. In some ways, I think the musical is relevant especially now. Rent takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but now we are in the middle of the Corona Pandemic. We can’t let fear get in the way- but love. It is more important than ever to live in the moment and in love.

Yes, while Rent is controversial, it is truly a celebration of life. Four of the major characters (Roger, Mimi, Angel, and Collins) have HIV. Then you have bisexual Maureen, Lesbian Joanne, and gay Angel and Collins. Mimi is a struggling drug addict. Roger is dealing with depression at the beginning of the musical, but Mimi helps him break out of his shell. See what I mean: tough topics and controversial. However, they show us how precious life is and the importance of living in the moment and in love.

With versions like this Rent Film, we are still able to see shows unfold in front of our eyes. So, theater will never be dead—-we still have a way to show musical theatre. There are the filmed staged shows that we have access to. We will eventually climb out of the pandemic and get back to seeing musicals live. As many musical theatre fans know, there is nothing like the power of live theater. It is frustrating, annoying, and disappointing that they are at a stop now.

I had to put up with both Anastasia and Frozen being postponed—so have to wait even longer. Well, I waited five years to see the stage show of Rent so if that was worth it, so will be the reopening of live musicals.

I saw the stage show in September 2017 at Belk Theater. Five years worth the wait. Due to how close Gardner Webb was to Charlotte, I was able to go home for a weekend to see Rent. Gardner Webb is in the middle of nowhere, but about one hour away from Charlotte.

Fox Rent Live (Or was It)

Rent is a musical that is hard to confess that I love it. That is due to its controversial topics such as the LGBT community, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and drugs. When I heard that Fox was doing a live typing of it, of course I wanted to see it. It wasn’t exactly a live typing because during a dress rehearsal, the Roger broke his foot- so they had to do a lot of prerecorded stuff- but I still loved it despite that. It has a message that is hard to ignore- live in the moment and choose love over fear. Don’t forget, this takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic where the virus was basically a death sentence- there was a lot of fear and uncertainty during the time period, but again and again, the characters choose love over fear and decided to celebrate live and despite the fear they had, they lived their lives in loves (how can you ignore that message).

This was my 3rd Rent cast- so far, I had the final Broadway cast (due to the film they did), the US Tour 2017, and the Fox Cast. I love Rent- so I already knew I would enjoy it- so it would get at least a 3/5 rating. Right from the beginning, I fell in love with the Mark and Roger.

I did not really see how talented the Roger was until “One Song Glory”. That was his first moment to really shine. As a matter during fact, “One Song Glory”, (I believe) Roger almost made me cry. This typically doesn’t happen on T.V. versions of Rent. The only other Roger where this happened was Kaleb Wells, my 2nd Roger, which makes sense because I saw him in person. He does need to work well with Mimi, which I will talk more about in my section about Mimi. His version of “Your Eyes” made me cry- that song is a moment that always makes me tear up. Rent affects me in almost the same way that Les Mis does, but in less scenes.

Enter Mimi. Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple in Rent- I think it is because they are to me a very realistic couple- they are problematic at times- they fight at times, but at the same time do love each other. My favorite by far is my first Mimi (so this Mimi had a lot to live up to). As a matter of fact, I really loved her. This Mimi really started to shine during “Out Tonight”- after all it is her title song; she also has to have incredible chemistry with Roger. I could tell that both Roger and Mimi are attracted to each other, but at the same time, Roger did not want to be in a relationship with her. This was especially shown in “Another Day”. I did love the chemistry in “I Should Tell You”- that is one of their strongest moments as a couple.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

Angel and Collins- I loved them. I loved their “I’ll Cover You”. They are the ones who are the least problematic of all three couples. They just seemed to live their lives in this songs. I just loved seeing this song performed. Then the “I’ll Cover You (Reprise) happened- I literally was almost in tears at that moment- Collins literally was upset at the death of Angel. One of the things I love about Angel was just how he (she)- I never know what pronoun to use- was just how generous Angel was.

I never know how to describe any Joanne. I don’t know why that is. I always know to describe Maureen. I always have “Over the Moon” just over the top- that is just who Maureen is- crazy- she literally is like that. Joanne on the other hand is fed up with her- they are just the most problematic couple- they are my least favorite couple all because of how problematic they are. I did love Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen- I may have originally seen her as Gabriella in the High School Musical series, but she does far well as Maureen especially in “Over the Moon”.

Now on to describe other songs. I always cry at “Will I” and “Without You”, and in this version they did. I even cried at the first Life Support meeting. I am quite emotionally affected by Rent- it is a sad musical, but it is so much more. I love the relationship these friends have- they are family. I love watching the bond- they do not get along at times, but they always make up.

Favorite Friendships in Musicals

You know how love shows up a LOT in musicals through ROMANCE? What about love that shows up through friendship? What are the memorable ones for me? Today, I thought I will talk about those.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

1. Elphaba and Glinda- seriously, what can this post be without Elphaba and Glinda? They are the first friendship I ever fell in love with in a musical. You never thought they would be best friends. They started out as basically enemies, than later became best friends. When they both fell in love with Fiyero, they did not let a boy get in the way of their friendship. They changed each others lives for the better. The fact that Wicked centers on their friendship is why Wicked is one of my top two favorite musicals. “For Good”, the most emotional song in the musical, really shows just how they changed each others lives for the better. It is a bittersweet moment for the two of them- it is the last moment they will see each other, but at least they can say what they meant to each other.

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2. Enjolras and the Students- I just love their brotherly love for each other. You just can’t help but love them. Then you love their hope and passion for their cause. I just love how they take in Gavroche. I really love how they keep their passion strong- even at the end when they know they are going to die.

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3. Newsies- I am going straight to the Newsies because the Newsies parallel Enjolras and the students. Just like the students, the Newsies have a cause they truly believe in and have hope in it plus have a brotherly love for it. The result is different: only difference in the Newsies is that they win. On a side note: I love the intimate bond found between Jack and Crutchie: I just love how they are best friends and that Jack is so protective of Crutchie. Jack is the one who cares more about his brothers than the strike, but it is Crutchie he cares about the most.

4. Rent Batch- This is another friendship I love. I love how they live how they do their best to live their lives in love and in the moment. They may not get along at times, but they do make up for it. They are this family.

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5. Lumiere and Cogsworth- I don’t what it is about these two, but there is something interesting about this friendship. I mean we are talking about a talking candle and a talking clock throughout most of Beauty and the Beast. I find something fascinating about this friendship- don’t you find something fascinating about this particular friendship?

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6. Marius and Eponine- I know this is a unpopular opinion, but I do enjoy their friendship. Look, Eponine has a dark and tragic life: at least Marius is in her life. People believe Marius is a jerk to Eponine. I do not believe that at all. Marius and Eponine are seen as close friends in the musical- I know that doesn’t exist in the book- I like how that is changed in the musical. It makes the love triangle stronger and “A Little Fall of Rain” more emotional. Marius is kind to Eponine, and that is why she falls in love with him. I know it doesn’t seem that way when Marius asks Eponine to find Cosette for him and those other errands.

I believe at the barricade, Marius asks Eponine to deliver the letter to try to protect her from the uprising. He does not want her to get hurt or worse KILLED. That is why he was worried when she came back. That is why he asked, “why she came back”. When she collapsed in his arms, he realized she was shot, and that her wound was fatal. He was devastated. He could have left her in that moment, but he didn’t. He stayed with her- that shows he is kind and sweet. By being with her in that moment, it shows an incredible act of COMPASSION. He offers her comfort and peace while she was dying. It shows that he truly did care about her.

This line after she died shows that he knew how dark her life was- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”.

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Top Ten Rent Songs

Next musical on this series, I will be making a list of my top ten songs from Rent. Rent is one of those musicals I learned to love through the songs. This may not be exactly accurate, but will still be ten Rent songs I love.

Possible Spoilers:

1. Seasons of Love- this is my favorite song from Rent. It shows you just how precious and short life is. It shows you just how many minutes there are in a year, and how you should live life. It teaches you that you should measure your life in love. I just love the song’s message.

2. Finale B- just like Les Mis, Rent is a sad musical, but it ends perfectly making you feel inspired. In the scene previously, it appears as if Mimi was dying, but she actually survived. She has this near-death experience and choose to survive. This song really represents the overall message of the show- to live in the moment- No Day But Today

3. I Should Tell You- I don’t know what it is, but Mimi and Roger are my favorite couple in Rent. They may be a flawed couple, but they are a very realistic couple. This is the song where they finally are able to confess  their feelings for each other

4. One Song Glory- this happens very early on in the musical. I love the overall melody of the piece. It is quite an emotional song to be honest; even though it doesn’t sound like. You have previously found out that Roger has HIV, and in this song, you find that he wants to write one great song before he dies.

5.  Another Day- this song has an interesting melody to it. At the beginning, there is kind of rocky edge of it when Roger is trying to refuse to go out with Mimi. Then when Mimi sings, it sings to the overall “No Day But Today” melody- so the song has a mixture of melodies going on. That “No Day But Today” melody happens in more than one song.

6. Will I- a very simple melody, but an extreme emotional reaction- it can actually reduce you to tears. It is only basically three lines song over and over again can causes that reaction: that is just how powerful that song is.

7. Without You- the 2nd act is more emotional then the 1st act. It seems as if Roger wants to split with Mimi. Plus, Angel is about to die from AIDS- he had HIV in the first act. So this is a highly emotional song. Collins never once leaves Angel in this song- they make the most of their relationship. On the other hand- Roger and Mimi constantly fight and split up; but always seem to love each other- the brokenness of their relationship at times is kind of why I am confused at why Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple in Rent

8. Goodbye Love- an extremely high stake song. Angel has died and now all of these friends are fighting. I still love this song- they just feel like they are getting split up. A lot happens in this song.

9. La Vie Boheme- what is nice about this song is at least it isn’t quite as emotional as many of the others. It helps lighten up the mood a bit. At least Roger has finally left his apartment. That is really why I love this song- lightens up the mood. After all, Rent is a sad musical- sad musicals did those kind of breaks or they get just way too overwhelming.

10. What You Own- I love how this is a man/man duet. Many musical theatre duets are between a man/woman due to romance songs. This is a duet found between Roger and Mark. They both have huge epiphany moments during this song. Mark has finally figured out the film he really wants to create, and Roger realizes the big song he wants to write. Roger just realized how much he really needs Mimi in his life just by seeing in Santa Fe- he decides to write his song about Mimi and his feelings for her.

The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

One thing that really impresses me is seeing the talent I have seen on stage when I have seen musicals. Some of the ones I have seen are understudies and standbys and those can really impress me. I have had understudies for characters such as Eponine, Christine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Leading Player and Katherine Plumber. Those actors have to work harder than anyone else. I just cannot believe how talented all of the different actors and actresses I have had over the years. I have seen more actors than actresses mainly because of Newsies. Newsies has a cast of mostly males and that is why I have seen more actors.

Les Mis was the last musical I saw and I loved that cast. You had the very powerful and passionate ensemble with some talented principals. It was lead by Nick Cartell and he was wonderful as Jean Valjean and his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and truly sounded like a prayer and he quiet enough for what the song required and strong enough for what the song required. Another standout was Joshua Grosso as Marius, and he brought this unique nature of awkwardness to the role and of all of the actors in the love triangle, he was the strongest, and I never expect Marius to be the strongest actor because I always expect Eponine to be the strongest actor, but this time it wasn’t the case. Jillian Butler’s Cosette somehow was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius. My Eponine, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), was impressive. The fact that she was an understudy made her work harder than anybody else. She had some impressive scenes and some scenes needed some work. She was very playful around Marius and was quite strong during “A Heart Full of Love”, and she was very believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Matt Shingledecker was my Enjolras, and he truly brought the passion and leader side of Enjolras. Even the ensemble was very talented. They were so epic passionate and powerful. The ensemble is very impressive when it comes to musicals and they are a huge part of a show: after all they take up most of the cast.

During Rent, I was impressed with the actors. Kaleb Wells brought out quite an emotional “One Song Glory” and showed his unwillingness to get into a relationship with Mimi. Lyndie Moe, my Maureen brought out her craziness perfectly and she made me laugh during “Over The Moon”.

Newsies was a musical I saw August 2016. It was lead by Joey Barriero, my Jack Kelly. It is hard to describe why I loved Joey. I loved how he showed his bond to Newsies especially his bond to  Crutchie. He brought out the inner conflict that Jack eventually went through. He was able to bring out the emotion felt in “Santa Fe” and the song to me was innocently sad. I don’t know if the innocence felt in the song was how Joey wanted to portray the song or if it was because this was my first time seeing the show. The actors in this show were triple threats. They were very impressive in the dance. They were flipping about two or three times in a row, dancing on newspapers among other amazing tricks and able to act and sing at the same time. The dancing was mind-blowing. The picture below is Joey Barreiro as Jack.

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Highlighting all of the talented actors will take a while. By showing some of the actors, you can tell that I have seen a lot of talented actors over the years. I still have not yet seen the same actor or actress in more than one  lead role. I am glad that each time I see a musical, I am exposed to new actors. I am always thinking how on earth have they memorized everything and they make it seem easy, but in reality it is not easy. It takes a lot of work and acting it much harder than it seems. They are doing the best they can and when you get an understudy or standby, you can get a bit nervous, but I alway regret it.

For example, Mary Kate Morrisey (standby) as Elphaba embodied everything about Elphaba, but brought something new. It felt like she was the main Elphaba. Another understudy that comes to mind is Adam Bayjou as Jean Valjean. He was my West End Jean Valjean, and he played the role so well that I forgot I was actually watching an understudy. So respect the standbys and understudies. You have no idea how much harder they have to work.