By all accounts, Fox’s broadcast of the modern classic musical Rent on Sunday night should have felt like a historical event — and in many respects, it did. The show’s original Broadway director, Michael Greif, led a young, energetic cast in a dynamic production that introduced composer Jonathan Larson’s songs and message of embracing “no day but today” even in the face of grave adversity to a new generation. Star performances, from the likes of Vanessa Hudgens, Kiersey Clemons and Brandon Victor Dixon, lent jolts of electricity to the evening. And superfans (aka Rentheads) rejoiced when the show’s original Broadway cast reunited for a special performance of signature anthem “Seasons of Love” at the evening’s end.
But this Rent also wasn’t quite realized as planned: The production’s Roger, Brennin Hunt, seriously injured his foot prior to Sunday’s planned live broadcast — so, as the cast announced early in the broadcast, audiences were shown Saturday’s dress rehearsal for the majority of the show (the broadcast then reverted to live toward the very end). Was the dress-rehearsal footage enough to satiate Rentheads and satisfy first-time audience members? And if not, were the show’s other charms enough to offset the non-live experience?
Billboard on Broadway host Rebecca Milzoff delves into all that with New York Times culture reporter and fellow theater fan Dave Itzkoff on this week’s episode of the podcast, capped with a call from castmember Mario, who reflects on playing landlord Benny and the unexpected turn Sunday’s performance took.
#BillboardonBroadway is a weekly podcast devoted to all things musical theater and their overlap with pop music. Click here to subscribe to the #BillboardonBroadway podcast on iTunes, and let us know what you think on Twitter (@rebeccamilzoff) or by rating the podcast on iTunes.