First - a clip from the 10 year Anniversary of RENT (OBC):
I'll Cover You (no costumes- endears me to Jesse L. Martin all the more)
So, I saw the final performance of RENT on Broadway filmed and presented in the movie theatre. The final performance was Sept. 7, 2008 and they had the show up and ready this week. May I say that I thought it was BRILLIANT from all angles. The filming was beautifully high definition (as compared to some of the video on youtube anyway) with close ups and shots that allowed me to feel connected to the characters on an intimate level that sometimes is impossible in live theatre. It felt like live theatre except for the audience energy - I think people didn't know how to be in a play in a movie...do we clap? do we hoot?
Here's a promo with Will Chase as Roger:
The cast was amazing. I was particularly struck by Mimi played by Renee Elise Goldsberry - she had the sense of wildness, audacity and vulnerability that is sometimes missing from the character. Will Chase was a great Roger - I wasn't sure at first, but I have seen him in other Broadway shows and liked him. Once he sang "Glory", I was onboard for the ride.
I have read some criticism online about the editing and the filming being too close, but I LOVED IT. I loved seeing the tears pouring down Mimi's face and the subtle facial expressions between the characters. I loved the bottled up emotion of Roger in "Another Day" and Mimi's startled reaction when he comes at her. They had great chemistry.
Angel, played by Justin Johnson, was sweet and sassy and lovable. It was just the right touch of playfulness that the production needed.
It was great to have Gwen Stewart back as the SOL Soloist #1 again - no one has done the song justice after her that I have heard. It is always beautiful, but she really marked that territory as hers. I liked Tracy McDowall's portrayal of Mark's mom - very funny with just a few moments on screen and some great facial expressions.
I liked the actor who played Mark - Adam Kantor- he was witty and droll and had a great voice. Occasionally, it seemed like he was trying to make the music his own - singing a little faster or slower or off key or something...I'm not sure. I just liked his presence and most of the choices he made for the character.
Overall, a satisfying viewing. I hope it is released on DVD. This is the perfect venue to introduce people to Broadway as well as a great tool to use for teaching people to interpret musical theatre to interpreters...
Goodbye, love. (until the revival...)