Sunday, September 7, 2008

End of an Era, part II

Well, it is done. "RENT" closed today. I know they filmed either the last or the second to the last performance and will be showing it in select movie theatres later this month. I can't wait to see it.

Here is the first blog entry I wrote about "RENT" and other musicals This kind of gives an idea of why the show had such an impact on me.

In August of 1996, I flew to NYC for a friend of a friend's wedding and one afternoon when I had some free time, I wandered to the Nederlander Theatre to see if there were any tickets available. I didn't know anything about the show at that point, but I knew the story of Jonathan Larson - I had seen something on like 20/20 or some other tv entertainment/news show. No dice. Sold out. And at the time, the lottery seats required an overnight stay outside the theatre to even hope to get seats. They changed it later.

I remember the DAY that I got the "RENT OBC" CD. Kevin and I had agreed to buy it on the same day. I purchased mine at Borders in the summer of 1996 - the day it was released. I ripped open the package and put it in my CD walkman (no CD player in the car for many years to come)in the parking lot of Borders. I listened to it right then and there. At first, the music was a little jarring, but that isn't unusual for me. I skimmed the libretto to find lyrics that intrigued me and quickly found the next musical obsession I would have. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that I called Kevin on my cell phone while I was there in the parking lot to see what he thought about it.

I saw "RENT" on stage for the first time in 1997 in Portland. The Touring cast was excellent and I loved the show. We interpreted it a couple of weeks later. It was the first time I ever cried while I was on stage - I interpreted for Collins and it was all I could do to get through the "I'll Cover You Reprise" in Act II.

As I grew to love the show more and understand it more deeply and personally, it became harder to see the show. I have seen the production in Portland (probably around 10 times), Eugene (4 times), Seattle (4 times), NYC (15+ times). I can remember specific shows - one viewing in Seattle, one in Eugene and a couple in NYC -where I could not stop crying. I cried the whole show and for 15-20 minutes afterwards. This show speaks to me on such a deep level - obviously, I'm not a herion addict, I don't live in NYC, I'm not a starving artist, but I can so relate to being the witness to the AIDS pandemic, to being young and uncertain about what life might bring as my friends were dying before their time. I could relate to holding on tight to the circle of friends that I had to try to get through it all.

I never spent the night at the theatre to get lottery seats, although one of the times I saw it in Eugene, I did get up at like 4am to go down to the theatre. I was able to get lottery seats for the matinee and it was so WORTH IT. To be so up-close-and-personal with the show meant a lot to me. Most of the time, I was content to just buy regular tickets, but I wanted to see it from the front couple of rows at least one time.

"RENT" ranks with a few other shows that make my heart ache. Every time I see it, I feel like I'm seeing it for the first time. I can't explain it, but it makes me sit on the edge of my seat, my heart beating just a bit faster. It makes me long for something I can't even define.

I'm so sad I couldn't be there for the last show, but I will be seeing the movie at least once. "RENT" will always have a special place in my heart and lives in my top 5 all-time-favorite musicals EVER.

RENT on Tony Awards 2008

RENT on 1996 Tony Awards

Manley Pope - "One Song Glory" (on Jenny Jones)

"Seasons of Love" Movie Cast on Today Show

"Will I?" - Movie Version

Viva la vie boheme!!

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