We’re Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay!/No Day But Today

I’ve been totally unashamedly obsessed with Rent for the last three weeks or so. Specifically, Rent: Live on Broadway..The Final Performance (which was really taken from two performances) I have never seen a Broadway play. I’ve never been to New York. I got this DVD from the Library and watched it a few times and let it play in the background, pretty much everyday for two weeks. I love it. I’m going to buy the DVD soon. To tide me over and feed the hungry beast I got the cd of the Original Broadway Cast Recording. Lovely 🙂
I was 21 when I bought the The Best of Rent Soundtrack (’99) I had heard about the play and how big of deal it was. There was also a bonus version of a song with Stevie Wonder and I was/am a fan of his music. I listened to the soundtrack once or twice but couldn’t really get into it. I now know that one of the reasons is that things didn’t make much sense. And though I love music I wasn’t a fan of musicals. I didn’t feel that I had the ear for musicals. That changed when I watched Once More With Feeling (Buffy Season 6) and I realized how awesome!! musicals could be. “The curtains close on a kiss God knows we can tell the end is near. Tell me..where do we go from here?” But I digress. When I heard they were making a movie with the original cast and Rosario Dawson (!!) was going to be in it I was all about going to see it. My brother and I saw it Thanksgiving weekend (2005) and…hated it. It was depressing. Everyone had AIDS and was dying. There was song after song after song and hardly a break between any. When I listen to music..I listen to music first. Knowing what the song says comes later, usually way later. So..you can probably guess that I could barely tell what was going on, since the story was told thru the songs. I was also at a very low point in my life at that time. Totally dependent on my family from Oct 05-Mar 06 . I had been financially independent since 95, shortly after I turned 17 and moved to LA on my own. But I digress 🙂 I visited friends in DC for Christmas and we went to see Rent in the movie theater again and their love for it sparked something for me. I bought the full length movie soundtrack. When the DVD came out in Feb ’06 I bought a copy for myself and one for my friend and my love affair with Rent truly began. I’ve seen the movie version so many times and have it completely memorized. Now that I’ve seen the stage version my feelings have changes a slight bit. I love the movie version for what it is. I love the play version period.

In the play, all the relationships are clearer. I understood everything better. At the end of some/most songs I applauded right along with the audience. My least favorite character is Benny. His part is almost non existent in the movie version. I never quite understood his relationship/non relationship with Mimi. In the play it is a bit more clear. While watching the play, Renee’s version of Mimi took awhile to get used to. Maybe 3 viewings. Her Mimi was tough and I thought she was too old for the part. But that is only in comparison to Rosario’s Mimi who had a sweetness and a love of life that shined thru. And yes, I know, Rosario was way older than 19 also..but I really dig her as an actress. Renee’s Mimi was all sorts of fucked up. She was lost a bit and hard. She was totally blitzed at Angel’s funeral! I really enjoyed Will’s version of Roger. He was angry. I liked that. He was beat down but still had passion and rage. I felt like there was a lot going on with him. In “Goodbye Love” when he exploded at Mimi “All your words are nice Mimi but love’s not a three way street..” Mimi and Joanne both stepped back. It was a bit scary. But note that Mimi was ready to get up in his face right back and Joanne held her back. They were a good match. Adam’s version was wounded. I felt a bit more of a pretty boy pathetic sweet sensitive artist type. I love Adam’s singing voice a whole lot lot. Beautiful. Will’s Roger was rock n roll hard. Also wounded but more of a tough exterior. One of the most brilliant aspects of watching the play was when they sang “I Should Tell You” . In the movie, it’s really sweet. You’re cheering for them in a way. They’d make a super cute/beautiful looking couple. In the play, it was a bit different. The acting supported the song. I understood in a different way. Will and Renee played it perfectly. There scared. They want to be together. They’re trying to be real and reveal themselves. There’s hesitance portrayed. A coming together and retreating. A shyness. And finally surrender. Love love love it 🙂

I’ll Cover You. The Live on Broadway Angel (Justin) and Collins (Michael) were fantastic. (I super heart Wilson and Jesse too!) In the play, when they do Sante Fe, I like how it’s clear that they are just getting to know each other. Angels like (so) “You teach” and Collns is like (yep)
“I teach”. From the time they meet they’re flirty and grinning and smitten with each other. So much goodness. If I had to had to had to pick a favorite song from Rent it would be I’ll Cover You. “Are we a thing?” “Darling, we’re everything.” I feel that Angel and Collins love story is the heart of the play. In the movie I felt it was a bit more of an ensemble. Pretty equal all around.

The biggest happy surprise while watching the play was Maureen and Joanne’s relationship. The movie version of them pales in comparison. There’s not much chemistry. There relationship is muddy. It’s unclear why they’re together at all. How did these two people even meet? Let alone move in together! But I’m gonna leap and make an assumption that their relationship was grossly neutered for the movie so as to be more palatable to a wider audience. Blah. So..in the play, Eden and Tracie knock it out of the park. Tracie’s play version of Joanne is tougher, more grown up. She’s a woman who knows what’s up and is trying to keep her relationship going. In the movie, I felt Joanne was a little too much trying to please and whiny victim like. Tracie and Eden have awesome chemistry. It’s clear that Joanne and Maureen are into each other. Witness: The playful sexiness in La Vie Boheme with an awesome little kiss. *sigh* From the play, it’s clear that Maureen is a chronic cheater. Eek! The movie makes it seem like she’s afraid of commitment. Because I look at the world thru my rosy Polyamorous glasses I kinda feel like she’s trying to be something she’s not. She clearly can’t do monogamy. But I dig that she really wants to make it work with Joanne. In Happy New Year, when she’s calling Joanne, making promises, Joanne shows up. She looks Maureen, who is wearing a fitting black cat suit, up and down and she likes what she sees 🙂 There’s a hint of S&M in their interaction. There’s a connection. When we get to Take Me or Leave Me..wowza..it’s an awesome performance. I love when Maureen places Joanne’s hands on her hips and Joanne sorta pulls her in closer. Hot! And they are really listening to each other. I always give a big round of applause when it ends. ha ha. They are clearly a drama couple. Break up..get back together..break up again. “Can’t live with her, can’t live without her” could be their theme. It probably is 🙂
Eden is perfect. Just as awesome as Idina. She slips right into the part. To be honest, Eden’s Maureen I like a lot better. She’s just so flawed and lovable despite those flaws. She made me really appreciate Over The Moon in a way I hadn’t before. Maybe because the piece is a performance itself, it just seems to work better in the play. In the movie, she’s a bit arrogant, selfish, and bratty. Her performance of Over The Moon was too polished.

This could be said about the whole movie actually. It’s clean. Smooth. Polished. Sanitized. I still love it though. The play on the other hand lifts me up into orbit. It’s raw, joyous, raunchy, immediate. There’s more acting while singing the songs. In the movie, I feel like it’s performance for the camera. Maybe because most of the cast had been in the original Broadway production.
They know their parts. They are not newbies on the scene. There veterans now. No one was phoning it in, but I didn’t feel the urgency. It wasn’t fresh. I’m gonna put this on the director’s shoulder. *shrugs*

Highlights of the play. Will I? In the movie it was a support group song. In the play, it comes right after Another Day, and Roger is depressed. And a secondary character starts singing the song but as the song goes on it involves all the cast members. Walking thru the set/the streets and it is just so powerful. The first time I saw it I totally teared up. It became bigger than the people living with AIDS and became more about the universal human experience. “Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?
I also love Voice Mail #5 when all the mothers call. Roger..Where are you? Mimi chica, donde estas? Mark, Are you there? Are you? Where are you? CALL YOUR MOTHER! Fucking brilliant.
And Christmas Bells! It’s so full of everything. “Kiss me, it’s beginning to snow.”

Some things I liked in the movie more than the play. I like Mimi and Angel’s relationship. It’s boss and apparently we have Rosario to thank for this.

I love La Vie Boheme. So much energy. So much fun. I felt like I was in the room with them. “The opposite of war isn’t peace.” “What is?” “It’s creation.” “Wooooooo!”

I love the guy who sings the beginning of Life Support. He’s so cute and it’s the only thing I felt I connected with when I first saw the movie.

“Look – I find some of what you teach suspect
Because I’m used to relying on intellect
But I try to open up to what I don’t know

Because reason says I should have died
Three years ago

There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret
or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today”

I love the funeral scene for Angel. The church is so beautiful. I love how it’s filmed and how the mourners join in and support Collins as he’s remembering Angel. And Jesse’s last note. Whoa!

And last but not least. Adam and Anthony singing harmony at the end of What You Own. Bravo!

I love Rent. It makes me glad to be alive.

My blood sings. My heart smiles.

Thank you Jonathan Larson


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