‘RENT’ Live Premieres on FOX

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BY Samantha O’Donnell

Staff Reporter

When theatre fans hear the word “Rent,” they instantly think of the smash musical that took the world by storm.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, FOX produced its newest live musical, “Rent.”

“Rent” was written by Jonathon Larson and first premiered on Broadway in 1996.

Major Broadway stars, including Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, appeared in the original “Rent.” Menzel, Rapp and the rest of the original Broadway cast made an appearance in “Rent” live, singing the shows most popular number “Seasons of Love”. This came as a huge surprise for “Rent” fans.

This musical tells the story of a group of young artists struggling to survive and flourish in Lower East Side Manhattan, while dealing with a breakout of HIV/AIDS.

The show covers a heavy topic but is also a story of falling in love, finding your own voice and living for today.

“Rent” live was adapted for television by Kristoffer Diaz, produced by Gregory Sills, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and directed by Michael Grief.

“Rent” had an all-star cast.

Leading the show was Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, a Jewish film maker who serves as the narrator. According to junior Sarah Possenti, Fisher “carried the whole show.”

Fisher was joined by Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, drag queen Valentina as Angel Dumott Schunard, Mario as Benjamin Coffin, and Vanessa Hudgens as the “outrageous” performance artist Maureen Johnson.

“Brennin Hunt and Brandon Victor Dixon were the stand out ones,” said Possenti. “My favorite part of the show was I’ll Cover You (Reprise). Dixon killed it!”

Many students praised Hudgen’s performance as Johnson.

Sophomore Sarah Minto’s favorite part of Fox’s “Rent” was Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, particularly in her big solo, “Over the Moon.”

“Growing up with her as Gabriella from High School Musical, I was definitely nervous about how she was going to portray her,” said Minto. “Maureen is such a bold character and I think Vanessa absolutely killed it! “Over the Moon” was done so well. Her facial expressions were phenomenal, and I really loved that the audience was so included in that scene, as if they were members at Maureen’s concert.”

During a rehearsal the day before “Rent” was set to go live, Hunt injured his foot and was unable to perform live.

Instead of cancelling the performance, they used the footage from their final dress rehearsal the day before, which included a live audience.

Larson died hours before it opened off-Broadway. Although Larson never got to witness the phenomenon that would be “Rent,” his legacy lives on, today and every day.

Associated Press Contributed to this Article

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