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Flasher
 


Registered: 11-2008
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RENT Farewell Tour - Review - April 16, 2009


       Honestly, if you were to ask me two years ago what I thought of RENT, I probably would’ve said, “What’s there to like?” However, if you would ask me that same question today, I would answer, “What isn’t there to like?” Obviously, the 2005 film didn’t impress me enough to want to see the show. I enjoyed the music, and that’s about it. Everything else just seemed odd, strange, and ultimately, depressing. When the filmed version of the Broadway show was released, I had only a slight interest in watching it but didn’t want to pay twenty dollars to see a movie. However, when it came out on DVD, I thought I’d give it a chance. I didn’t think it would change how I felt about RENT, but I was wrong. I loved it! The characters seemed a lot more developed, the story (and message) seemed a lot clearer, and the music sounded better than ever. Now, let’s backtrack about a year – I had seen a pamphlet in the mail, saying that RENT was coming to Pittsburgh with Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal reprising the respective roles. That actually sparked an interest in seeing the show because I knew it would be an event worth seeing. However, the desire disappeared, and I forgot about it for a while, but the Broadway DVD sparked my interest again… this time, more than ever. I knew I had to see this show.
The time had finally come, I was about to see RENT for the first time live. I had a major concern that my favorite actors (Rapp, Pascal, and Justin Johnston) would be out, so I went straight to the understudy board. Fortunately, none of their names were up there, but Nicolette Hart would be understudied. Honestly, I had no interest in seeing her anyway because of the many negative reviews I’ve heard about her performance as Maureen.
About an hour later, the show began. Adam Pascal entered the stage, and I was the first to applause. Anthony then entered, and my excitement reached an all-time high. I loved the way they leave the lights on for Mark’s opening monologue, and suddenly shut them all off for “Tune-Up #1.” Both Adam and Anthony sounded great, as great as I’d thought they would sound. Their performances as these characters are incredible. I, along with the rest of RENT audiences, can definitely see that each of them know their characters and love playing them.
Justin Johnston stole the show for me, however. Angel is my favorite character, and I think he plays her so well. During “You’ll See,” when Benny flips up Angel’s skirt, I loved how Justin stood up and looked him like, “You want to fight?! Let’s go!” I just think he’s an incredible performer, and I appreciate his work. Michael McElroy was fantastic as Collins. At first, when I saw the filmed version of the show, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his; however, his performance tonight completely changed my mind. His “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” was so powerful and moving that I was literally shaking the entire time.
I thought Jacques C. Smith was terrific as Benny. The only problem I had was that he sounded so quiet for some reason. During “Rent,” you could barely hear him sing: “Draw a line in the sand…”, and during “You’ll See,” he sounded quieter than other Benny’s I’ve heard, but it worked well for the character, I thought. I was taken aback by Lexi Lawson’s performance. I still can’t believe this is her first major role. She has an incredible, natural talent, and I hope she does well in the future. Her “Out Tonight” is one of the best I’ve ever heard.
I couldn’t have been happier with Caren Tackett’s (I’m pretty sure it was her, or Karmine Alers) performance as Maureen. Her “Over the Moon” made the audience roar with laughter. Also, in “La Vie Boheme,” when Maureen pretends to deliver a baby, she shouted “It’s a baby!” while other Maureen’s I’ve heard, sort of whisper it. Also, her voice sort of reminded me of Eden Espinosa’s. I wasn’t too thrilled with Trisha Jeffrey’s performance as Joanne. I don’t exactly know why though. She was good, but I think I love Tracie Thoms’ performance so much that everyone else seems to not satisfy me.
I was happy to see Shaun Earl as Paul & Others. I loved his performance on the DVD, so I was excited to see him live. Jed Resnick was pretty good as Steve, Waiter, & Others, but I like Telly Leung, who is away filming a TV pilot, a lot better. I can’t say enough about Gwen Stewart. Her voice is a powerhouse, to say the least. She received so many applauses during “Seasons of Love,” and every single one of them was well-deserved.
Overall, the show was incredible. Seeing it live certainly is much better than watching it on the DVD. It’s certainly no Hairspray emoticon, but it is an excellent musical/rock opera. Everyone seemed to be at the top of their game, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the performance as a whole. It was a wonderful way to say hello and goodbye to RENT.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stage door because it was late, and I had to get up early the next day for school. However, I did buy an autographed Playbill from the cast for twenty dollars as a part of Broadway Cares, and I probably got more autographs on there than I would have at the stage door.

Last edited by hairspraydude1962, 4/26/2009, 12:38 pm
4/19/2009, 4:15 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
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Flasher
 


Registered: 11-2008
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Re: RENT Farewell Tour - Review - April 16, 2009


Sorry for the double post, but I just found out that Joanne was being played by Trisha Jeffrey, not Haneefah Wood. :/
4/21/2009, 1:00 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
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On The Short Bus
 


Registered: 12-2007
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Re: RENT Farewell Tour - Review - April 16, 2009


Great review! I loved the RENT tour when I saw it in January.
I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience.

---
- Connor
4/21/2009, 3:37 pm Link to this post email   pm
 
hairspraydude1962 Profile
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Flasher
 


Registered: 11-2008
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Re: RENT Farewell Tour - Review - April 16, 2009


Thanks. emoticon I'm glad you liked my review.
4/29/2009, 2:50 pm Link to this post email   pm
 


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