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Mainstream - Rent Filmed Live On Broadway

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Rent - Filmed Live on Broadway
Will Chase, Shaul Earl, Eden Espinosa
Directed by Michael John Warren
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
152 minutes

Though not a fan of musicals, I could not resist the opportunity to watch the Rent Filmed Live On Broadway DVD. 4 Tony Awards and a 12-year Broadway run does make you curious. A 60 Minutes piece about how Rent composer Jonathan Larson died before the musical’s off-Broadway premiere also added to the curiosity. Rent has also been adapted into a movie version directed by Chris Columbus and a cleaner School Edition version.

If you enjoyed Rent on Broadway or on tour, you will certainly enjoy the Rent DVD version. It is very well filmed; the energy of the play itself really carries over on screen and it is not presented in a static frontal view only. Because of that dynamic editing, Rent Filmed Live On Broadway feels more like a rock concert movie than a Broadway show. The often boisterous audience also adds to that feeling.

Research says Rent is a modern take on Puccini’s La Boheme with some autobiographical stuff thrown in. Search me. This story of starving artists, many of whom have AIDS, is complex and a little hard to follow for the uninitiated due to the sheer number of characters. Basically, a bunch of hip people have been squatting in a building and somebody now wants them to pay rent.

Willing suspension of disbelief is a must when watching musicals and Rent certainly demands it as everybody is always singing their lines. That I find this show generally amusical does not help –if you are not a fan of this Broadway production I dare you to name a tune; even if you are a fan name the last time you heard it on the radio. Even Rent’s most famous song, 525,600 minutes does not exactly flow off the tongue.

It is also easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer length of this show.

Special features on the Rent Filmed Live on Broadway DVD include a forty minute retrospective documentary; The Final Curtain Call where past and present cast members sing Seasons of Love; The Wall, a look at the backstage wall; and a feature on how some fans got to sit in the first 2 rows.

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