First there was RENT the musical.
Now there’s RENT the movie.
I, for one, am thrilled about this!
This video of the song Seasons of Love, sung by the cast of RENT is one of my favorites:
Rent started as a staged reading in 1993 at the New York Theatre Workshop, followed by a studio production that played a three-week run a year later. The version now known worldwide opened off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on January 26, 1996 and opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996. Source
RENT itself may be fictionalized, but there’s a very interesting element of “reality” tied to it (some of it quite eerie!) that has stuck in my head ever since RENT was first released as a play back in 1996.
That is: the writer, Jonathan Larson.
There are 2 stories to Rent. The first is the show itself, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for drama and four 1996 Tony awards, including best musical… The second story of Rent involves composer and playwright Jonathan Larson, who obsessed over this play for seven years, only to find his health failing due to stress, and his wallet as empty as those of his characters. The day of the final dress rehearsal, Larson died in his kitchen of an aortic aneurysm. Source
He died just 10 days before his 36th birthday.
Oddly enough, Johnathan Larson also wrote a one-man autobiographical musical about turning 30 and his struggle to become a successful rock composer and lyricist… Tick, Tick, Boom! has been playing in theaters across America for years.
Becoming A RENT Groupie
The musical itself got very good reviews on Broadway, but there was just something about “the story behind the making of RENT” that meant more to me and prompted me to go see it when it opened off-Broadway (Tampa, Florida to be exact).
From there, still captivated by the underlying story about the writer, I felt compelled to own everything I could get my hands on regarding RENT. I scooped up pins, flyers, articles in newspapers and magazines.
For months, every time I stepped foot in a bookstore, I would sit & read through bits and pieces of books about RENT, learning some new tidbits about this low-budget musical — an amazing piece of artwork. (I still kick myself that I didn’t purchase a particluar behind-the-scenes book about the play and its writerwhen I saw it on sale.)
I guess I was an amateur “RENT groupie”… though there’s actually an official title for it now. It’s called a “renthead”. (You know you’re a Renthead if…)
The Music From RENT
I even purchased the 2-disc CD set filled with the actual music and dialog from the play. When you’re listening to the CD, you’re listening to the entire play from start to finish — way cool.
It’s been 7 years now since I first saw RENT, and I still pull out that CD at least once a year for a change of pace. (Did I mention the musical itself features 33 different songs?! Each one of ’em is on the CD!)
To this day, there’s still something refreshingly uplifting about the story, the music, and the story-behind-the-story.
Thinking About Seeing RENT The Movie?
My hope is that the movie will one-up the musical. I thought the musical (off-Broadway) was very good… perhaps it was even better ON-Broadway.
But I’m absolutely thrilled that they’re bringing the awesome caliber of music and drama from RENT to the big screen for ALL to enjoy.
“Most of the performers in this movie version are reprising their roles from the original stage rendition.”
I have to say… without the behind-the-scenes stuff, for me… RENT doesn’t quite have the same effect. Though I’m confident that the movie itself will win-over a whole new generation of RENT groupies!
It’s a movie that deals with issues like homelessness, AIDS, and alternative lifestyles — and the music is really fast and LOUD (not metal loud, just “sing-it-loud-and-sing-it-proud” kind of Broadway musical loud). In amidst the snappy upbeat tunes are a fair share of melodramatic ballads that are INCREDIBLY deep and well-spoken.
RENT seems to have a cult following among teenagers and 20- or 30-somethings. And for a couple more days anyway… that still includes me!
If you choose to see RENT the movie, I definitely think that you’ll either love it, or hate it. But remember, it’s the facts interwoven with fiction that make this one oh-so-memorable and worthy of a look.
Reviews of RENT… The Play AND The Movie
- “The first rock opera that successfully fuses music with the show.” Source
- View nearly 50 different comments about the music from RENT!
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).