As it’s now official just past our 10-year-anniversary of seeing Rent Live on Tour, we figure it’s finally time to finish recapping the amazingness that is Rent Live on Fox:
What You Own - Here, we see that Mark has taken the BuzzLine job and is doing tabloid news. After delivering a ridiculous headline, he looks up and says, “Oh my God. What am I doing?”
Mark and Roger both reflect on the friendships and connection they had in New York while Roger is in Santa Fe and Mark remains in New York. Eventually, Roger returns to New York to finish his song and Mark quits his job at BuzzLine to finish his film.
Jordan, in particular, continues to do a stellar job at depicting the trauma Mark is going through. We were struck by just how present Mark’s trauma is here and how he must make a conscious effort to stifle it in order to work and just keep living day to day.
The song’s chorus contains the line, “living in America at the end of the millenium,” and Jordan seized a brief moment, raising his hands and shaking his head no. This universal signal - hands-up-don’t-shoot - had us catching our breath.
The live audience screaming did take us out of it a little bit. Great vocals from both Jordan and Brennin. It’s always satisfying to see Mark and Roger come back together after their time apart.
Voice Mail #5 - Roger, Mimi, Joanne and Mark’s parents all try and fail to reach them. They are concerned about their children, but their calls continue to be screened by Mark, Roger and the rest.
The ensemble, including the lovely Keala Settle, continues to do amazing work. We love this cast.
We should note that it’s here, that the live-Sunday-night aspect of the performance began. The previous night (filmed dress rehearsal) Brennin Hunt (Roger) broke his heel, and the cast was not able to restage everything on such short notice. However, they were able to adapt the last few songs, beginning with the parents’ leaving their kids voice mails here.
While we would have loved to see the entire show done with Roger in a wheelchair (how amazing from a disability standpoint), we understand that with time constraints and the acute nature of the injury, it was just not feasible. We are so happy that the needs of the injured actor were considered and accommodated during this time. And we did absolutely enjoy the live-Saturday-night version that made up most of the show.
Finale - Mark and Roger are back together. Mark’s preparing to screen his footage and he and Roger discuss how Roger’s written his song, but can’t find Mimi, though he’s tried. Their power blows and Collins comes in with extra money from rewiring the ATM so it gives money to anyone with the code: A-N-G-E-L. (We love him asking Mark and Roger, “What do you two do when I’m not here?”)
They’re singing together when Maureen calls for Mark and Roger. She and Joanne have Mimi supported between them. She’s super sick, having been living in the park, without adequate shelter or warmth. Collins calls 911 but gets put on hold. As it appears Mimi is using the last of her strength to stay alert, Roger says there’s something she should hear.
This is the first time we see Roger in a cast, his foot propped up on a nearby chair as he sits on the table with his guitar. Mark fills in where he’s needed, taking Roger’s guitar, finding Mimi blankets and a jacket, and bringing Roger’s guitar back so he can sing to Mimi.
We love seeing these friends adapt to what each other needs, with no fuss or notion that Roger is a bother. Maureen, Joanne and Collins manage to get Mimi inside when Roger can’t and Roger is still able to be there for Mimi, to sing to her, hold her hand, and talk to her, which is what she genuinely needs in this moment.
Your Eyes - Roger’s song is essentially a proclamation of love for Mimi. He sings to her as she dies. Brennin Hunt delivers a heartbreaking and perfect vocal under difficult circumstances, including imploring “Mimi!” as she loses consciousness while gathered limply in his arms.
After a few long seconds, Mimi spontaneously revives. Her fever breaks. It turns out that she’s seen Angel, who urged her to turn around and listen to Roger’s song.
Vanessa’s Maureen makes this moment. When Mimi says that she jumped over the moon, Maureen exclaims “YES!” And it’s the perfect bit of levity in a tearful moment.
Finale B - The friends all celebrate together, watching Mark’s footage of all the friends throughout the past year. The entire cast walks back onto the stage, all of them gathered around the table where Roger’s seated.
The lights dim and the screens project a brief message about Jonathan Larson, who wrote the show. Though he died just before the show opened, his vision, music and message live on. Just before this, Angel returns to stage, too, and everyone sings, “No day but today.”
It’s full of love and tears and just the seizing of the present moment.
Seasons Of Love (Finale) - Then we see, oops, it’s not the end, because much of the Original Broadway Cast is there singing Seasons of Love together, with their present-day counterparts.
We loved seeing everyone singing and celebrating together. And though we did feel for Brennin back on the table while several of the others came and stood with the originals, Adam Pascal did join Brennin, and they sang together.
We see a minute or so of the cast celebrating post-show, and we felt for Brennin, who remained where he was out of necessity. But it was so good to see the rest of the cast come around him.
(Particularly, when Jordan went to hug him and got on the table for optimal closeness. It might seem like a small thing, but those of us who are physically disabled often miss out on good hugs because of balance or location reasons, and so it did our hearts good to see that Brennin was always thought of and included in this regard.)
If you get the chance to see this show, do yourself a favor and watch it. It is available at fox.com.