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[personal profile] ase
I saw the Sunday matinee performance of Rent today, on the 20th Anniversary tour. I did not feel a great desire to see Rent in the '90s, but decided in the '00s I had been an idiot. Today I fixed that.

I'm no theater connoisseur, but this seemed like an easy-ish house, to judge from the cheering after almost every number.

I went with K, who has heard the soundtrack and seen the movie, but isn't a musical person. I have some serious reservations about the movie version, most significantly the choice of Chris Colombus as director. Columbus has absolutely no idea how to convert between media, which is why the first two HP movies are awful and the third convinced me that anything with Alfonso Cuarón's involvement is worth my time and money.

I had a good time. I'm not expert enough to say whether the individual performers did a good or just okay job, but I found it a good use of my Sunday afternoon.

A few notes:

I liked having the pit orchestra onstage, tucked into a corner. I bet there's an original off-Broadway reason for that decision, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a creative choice to add a little more movement to a very dynamic musical.

During the Life Support meeting, the libretto calls for the ensemble to name people the actors know who had died of AIDS. Today's showing didn't honor that. It's 2017 and if you're HIV positive with access to HAART you can live a very long time. HIV exposure is now dangerous but manageable in a way that would be mind-blowing in the early '90s. This makes Angel's death no less moving. I cried! I am not a crier and I choked up during the "I'll Cover You" reprise, and again during Mimi's final crisis. I never knew that "Will I?" was cover for Roger deciding to leave the apartment, I didn't know "Without You" was staged with Joanne in black and Angel in hospital whites bracketing Mimi. Seeing the musical instead of listening to the soundtrack really brings home how Mark hovers at the edge of events. Mark's big moment is emceeing La Vie Bohème - which was staged with twelve characters and Benny around a table in form similar to Da Vinci's Last Summer - and the fight with Roger, which is about Mark living on the sidelines. Everyone else's big numbers involve love and death and leaping over the moon.
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