Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rent - Broadway - Theater - New York Times

NO DAY BUT TODAY (AND EVERY OTHER DAY UNTIL JUNE 1, 2008): Because after twelve years, Rent will close on Broadway this spring. The show cost less than a quarter-million to produce on Broadway, and "has gone on to gross more than $280 million on Broadway and another $330 million on the road," as well as spawning a good number of posts on this blog. Still, says the father of the late Jonathan Larson, “For essentially 12 years I’ve been saying I’d trade the whole business in if Jonny could still be alive. I still feel that way.”

The Times' Ben Brantley raved after its 1996 workshop debut:
[O]n one level, "Rent" is about breaking through the self-protective detachment, here embodied by both Roger and Mark, of a generation weaned on the archness of David Letterman and the blankness of Andy Warhol. Like such other recent works as Mr. Sondheim's "Passion" and Nicky Silver's "Raised in Captivity," this show directly addresses the idea of being cut off from feelings by fear.

This is definitely not a problem for Mr. Larson. Indeed, one forgives the show's intermittent lapses into awkwardness or cliche because of its overwhelming emotional sincerity. And when the whole ensemble stands at the edge of the stage, singing fervently about the ways of measuring borrowed time, the heart both breaks and soars.
Brantley concluded, "[T]his show restores spontaneity and depth of feeling to a discipline that sorely needs them. People who complain about the demise of the American musical have simply been looking in the wrong places. Well done, Mr. Larson."

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