Viva! La Vie Boheme!
It’s been more than two decades since Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize winning rock opera, RENT sent seismic shockwaves through Broadway forever changing the musical theatre landscape. Now it’s set to rearrange America’s living room when FOX presents “RENT Live” as its next musical TV production. Executive producing is the Larson Estate and Marc Platt (La La Land and Broadway’s Wicked); casting and air date are still TBD.
According to the HolywoodReporter.com.
“We are so honored to partner with the estate of the brilliant Jonathan Larson and producer Marc Platt on one of the great musicals of our time,” said Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group. “The title is so iconic, the music is so beloved, and the themes are as meaningful today as they were when the show first premiered on Broadway. With Marc overseeing this project, we are sure it will have a profound impact on the legions of fans who know and love this musical.”
RENT ran from 1996 until 2008 becoming the 11th longest running show on Broadway having played 5123 performance when it closed. Not since Hair, nearly 30 year earlier, had a musical brought such gritty stories, harsh realities, and controversial subjects like radicals, poverty, homosexuality and the HIV/AIDS crisis to the fore of the American mainstream. Even its Broadway venue, the delict Nederlander Theatre was tucked away on w41st Street, literally in the shadows of Great White Way.
RENT won four Tony Awards including Best Musical; spawned several national tours; countless international productions; a dismal film version in 2005; and a far superior live on Broadway version in 2008.
While RENT Live! is certainly cause for excitement (its timing during the current political climate couldn’t be better), it should be tempered with trepidation. RENT is in your face unapologetically sexual, fringe of society, and dives headfirst into subjects still considered “taboo” by network “standards and practices.” Which begs the question, how are they going to navigate the censors without ruining the integrity of the original work?
With the Larson’s on board as executive producers and reportedly having gone through “prolonged negotiations” before giving FOX the rights to make their live TV event; one can hope they are vigilant in protecting their son’s vision. But to quote Jonathan Larson,
“Will I lose my dignity?
Will someone care?”
TheatreRat is contributor to theOUTfront and can be followed on Show-score.com