Tuesday, January 29, 2019

7 Things About "Rent" Live

1.  As someone who has watched enough TV to know about live versus live to tape, I was less bothered than some about the fact than an injury to a cast member meant most of the show was the recorded live rehearsal from the prior evening. 
2. I agree wholeheartedly with the sound issues and spinny camera angles mentioned here in this review. (Also, I am a curmudgeon who hates people who cheer for a well held note in the middle of the well held note therefore drowning out the well held note - some things you can applaud when they are completed.) 
3. I know "live" musicals exist in this space where they are trying to provide something you different from a movie or a live theater performance, but, for example, I think half the funny of the "Light My Candle" number - particularly for those of us already familiar with it - is being able to see if you can spot Mimi dropping her stash and Roger finding it.  But if we are so tight on their faces the whole time, you lose the ability to track that. 
4. I recently have had a few conversations with folks about how for younger millennials and generation Z most of "Rent" (and the AIDS crisis, and "Pose" for that matter) is historical.  So I appreciated that some of the voiceover expansions and even a few lyrics changes were to better place it in time and better clarify how actually deadly it all was. (Without that context, Roger seems like even more of a sad sack.) I do think this is one thing the movie did brilliantly, having the members of the support group disappear during "Will I?".  
5. I do hope that some of the rockiness with some of the ensemble members of the cast was that they were in what seemed like the last rehearsal. 
6. From the folks at the actual live version, it seemed like they got a different fabulous performance.  It's interesting because of course live theater is actually like that.  Your friend who goes Saturday gets a different performance than you do on Sunday.  But it created a weird thing to know the audience in the studio was getting something really different that only merged with the TV audience at the end.  I will be interested to see what they do with the DVD.
7. I love musicals.  I know that "Rent" is already dated and not without problems.  I think this may be the first version I saw with a Pacific Islander in it, and it is at least my fifth cast. I'm glad it exists in yet another version.