Sunday, September 28, 2008

Goodbye, Love

First - a clip from the 10 year Anniversary of RENT (OBC):

Goodbye, Love

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 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...)


  1. Hi Jean,

    I have really enjoyed your thoughts about RENT. Really your thought about everything, but I love to read what you have to say about theatre, how it touches you and especially what you have written about RENT.

    It took me forever to see RENT. And, honestly, I still haven't seen it on stage. My first exposure was years ago when I had to interpret it at a highschool, for graduation, sung by the choir. URG! I hated that song! Especially when they sang it every year for the next four, when grad time came around. GOD, couldn't they pick something else?!
    When the movie came out, a friend of mine took me to see it. My only referenc was the dang crappy song the choir sang...
    After hearing the same song in the movie - I realized that it was beautiful and that I hadn't liked it because I had no idea what the back story was. Also, the choral version sucks all life out of the song - pure tones, stay on the beaten path, stand there like sticks and sing.

    After I saw the movie - I got it! The song meant something to me. Every time I read what you write about, it adds a little something to my understanding of a GREAT show!. Ok, I am smacking myself for not seeing the a stage...

    Thanks for your words and insights, keep writing!

    Your silent (until now) reader:

    Tina Buchanan

  2. Hi Tina! Fancy meeting you here! :)

    You are in luck because RENT is coming to Portland again next summer...I think in June or July. It is great onstage...the best. The movie is good, but it doesn't cut to the heart the way the stage production does. :)

    I feel your pain about "Seasons of Love" - I think it is one of the hardest songs to interpret EVER...there is no way to express all the depth of meaning in the brief phrases and the sense of richness of time...

    I hope you are well...Dinner - you, me and Shannon? Soon. :)

  3. Dinner soon? YES!

    WHEW!! I am definately seeing RENT next stopping me!!!

    I'm not sure how I found your blog. I think it was from a post about the Allies Retreat and then from there....

    Hope all is well!



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