This past Wednesday I was fortunate enough to see RENT in the town I live. I have wanted to see this musical performed for a very long time, and a couple of months ago I learned that it will be closing on Broadway. My beautiful, wonderful mother was tossing around the idea to pay a gazillion dollars for me to see it, and she was thinking about seeing it with me. This was spectacular news to me, seeing as she really DID NOT want to see it, but knew how much I did, which is why she is the best mother because she is so self sacrificing. So I was walking to the communications department about a week ago and saw an advertisement for RENT, which would be held at the local theater (“civic center” thing) and tickets were 45 DOLLARS!! You can imagine how excited I was. I grabbed my phone and started to dial my sister’s number to see if she wanted to go with me, because she loves it as much as I do, but then I remembered that she would be out of town when it came.
So I asked my mother if I could go to this one, saving her a trip (and a gazillion dollars) of having to see a play she didn’t want to. And she said yes (because, if you remember, she is amazing)!! So I ended up going with my suite mate.
When we got there we ran into a couple of people from our theater class, and we all shared a laugh as we considered ourselves “heathens” for going to this play. Because our University would so not approve. HA! We then took our seats and the show began. Now if you have seen the movie (as I have) let me warn you. It is not like the play in a lot more areas than I thought it would be. Songs are in different spots, different characters sing different parts of songs, and some minor plot lines were changed/added/removed. This is understandable, because what looks good and what works on stage often doesn’t work for movies. But the play was UNBELIEVABLE. So amazing, funny, sad, happy…all emotions came out. I caught myself singing along (in my head of course) and the guy in front of me didn’t realize it (i hope) was dancing along to the songs.
Overall the cast was fantastic. Roger and Mark were unbelievable and fit the parts well. The guy who played Roger was actually the winner of South African Idol!! But he lost his accent for the show. The woman who played Maureen was outrageously talented. She really didn’t even need a mike! She was as good as Idina Menzel, who originated the part. The only character I was not a fan of was Mimi. The actress playing her was an awesome dancer, but her singing was not as sharp and demanding as the character needed to be. Now I know I should not compare the movie to the play, but I think it is hard to match Rosario Dawson. However, during intermission, the guy beside me was talking to his wife, and I heard him say the actress in the play was not a good singer for the part of Mimi. I think she and the woman playing Maureen should have switched. But that is just me.
I was very sad when the show ended, because I wanted it to go on forever. It made me laugh, cry, happy, angry, sad, etc. I sometimes wish people could get past the “adult themes” of the play (mother I am not talking about you…I know you don’t like the rock music) and the language etc. Because if you take away all of that the play is still a beautiful piece of art written by an artist taken too soon. It depicts the life of the homeless and a group of friends who are just trying to survive. Yes John Larson wrote the play to draw attention to the AIDS crisis, and that is what makes the play so beautiful. I hope I get to see it again, on or off Broadway. It is simply amazing and if you listen closely to the wonderful lyrics, it will touch you and (hopefully) change you for the better.