Short and to the point: I was unable to watch Rent:Live. But, I told my family and friends to watch, because the arts is always the first thing cut in schools— and these live musicals create exposure to the arts and offers opportunity to those that otherwise may never get to Broadway, as they get to see something similar.
But, of course, as everyone knows— Brennin Hunt who plays Roger, injured his ankle. So badly in fact, that he would be confined to a wheelchair and unable to perform the show’s blocking (movement.)
So, what we saw, 90% of the production, was a dress rehearsal. I took notes, but, as the New York Times pointed out— we weren’t meant to see this. So none of it matters, except that Jordan and Brennin were giving it their all in this rehearsal. They were both ON and it was appreciated.
The last 10 or so minutes of the show featured changed blocking and was indeed Live. And the show concluded with the original cast joining this cast in singing “Seasons of Love.” But, everyone was acting as though they’d been performing all night and were finally finished. And I found that odd… didn’t you all sit quietly while watching the broadcast, maybe rehearse a little and then go out there for the last 10 minutes?
The live cast performed a concert-ish version of the show LIVE, as the dress rehearsal aired on television. Yes… the actors were performing and giving it their all for an audience in the theatre. Again, as we at home watched a rehearsal which no one knew would end up being shown, the actors were in the theatre performing.
If Fox decided to perform the show like a concert for a live audience, why were we not shown that? Sure, an injured actor confined to a wheelchair is not ideal, but, in the few videos online of the truly live concert, everyone is having fun and the energy is on fire.
I am extremely disappointed at Fox’s decision. The rehearsal is okay— but even in that 10 minutes that was live, there was clearly a difference in energy and it flowed better. The lesson here is have understudies next time OR adapt to life and do the show as best you can, LIVE. Anything is better than showing rehearsal footage where most actors are simply hitting their mark than truly performing, giving it their all.