Context – watching the 20th Anniversary Tour of Rent
So I lied a little and I’m not really listening to the original recording, although that album is good. But having never seen the original Broadway cast, my go-to memories of Rent will always be watching a screener of the movie during a movie night at college, where I quite rudely proclaimed “Finally!” at the end of the show after many a false endings. I really had to pee, I didn’t mean to diminish the emotional impact of the movie.
All in all I prefer the movie. I prefer most of the movie cast’s voices, I like most of the edits they did (minus cutting “Goodbye Love” in half; the end of that song fucking slays me every time), and having seen the movie at least a dozen times it’s just hard to compete with the memories. And come on–Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs. That guy from Law and Order. Eddie from SLC Punk. So good.
That being said you should go see a live production of Rent ASAP. There’s nothing quite like live theater, especially musical theater. During “The Tango Maureen” Joanne’s lavalier microphone cut out and a stage hand deftly handed her a hand-held that they worked around the rest of the song. It was really impressive how they rolled with those punches.
Knowing that what your watching is a live performance imparts a sense of wonder and mystery to it. The staging is crucial, the set is a work of art, and the stakes are very real. It’s a magic trick they pull off every night and I’d keep going back for more if only I could afford it.
I’m going to have these songs stuck in my head for about a week. I already know I’m going to watch this movie over the weekend to confirm or deny my hunches. I also already know I’m going to window shop until I find the sweater Mark wears.