On January 27th, the spirit of "La Vie Boheme" was on television screens across the country as Fox aired Rent: Live. A few hours before the performance was scheduled to begin, it was revealed that actor Brennin Hunt broke his foot and ended up in a wheelchair. The decision was made for the show to continue, using dress rehearsal footage from the previous day, while the last part of the show would be performed live. As a result, many were unhappy with this decision. However, the show still embodied the spirit of Rent, in its own heartfelt way.
Composer Jonathan Larson never lived to see what his show would become. Though he died hours before the show's first performance off-Broadway, his legacy lives on in Rent, where the show's timeless themes of love, passion, hopes, fears, and living for today. Rent: Live still embodied these themes, proving that there is truly "no day but today" as the show went on.
Was Rent: Live perfect? Not at all. But with well rounded performances from Hunt as Roger, Jordan Fisher as Mark, Tinashe as Mimi, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Valentina as Angel, Mario as Benny; the show managed to overcome its slow start by the time "Tango: Maureen" came around to perfectly capture the love that Rent is about. Other memorable moments from the show include Maureen and Joanne's duet "Take Me or Leave Me," and Roger's song "Your Eyes," sung during the live portion of the show that let the audience see the actors in their element and brought so much emotion to the show's ending, which was multiplied when members of the Broadway cast of Rent joined the cast of the show.
At the end of the day, it makes no difference whether or not Rent: Live was truly live. It succeeded in bringing Jonathan Larson's message to living rooms across the country, which is certainly something to celebrate. And it proved that, whether you like it or not, Rent is a landmark of musical theater, allowed Larson's genius to be shared with the world, and made a difference in the portrayal of HIV/AIDS, in the now famous line "no day but today."