Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rent: Paid Up and Movin' To The Burbs

In life, timing is everything. There are many occasions in my life where I am struck by my own personal sense of timing. Last night I was perusing Steve On Broadway's blog when I was struck by his observations about the extension of August: Osage County, the weight that straight plays are carrying and the Broadway grosses for the week ending January 13th. I toggled over to the report and started to scroll down to look at the "big picture."

I noticed a few musicals with attendance hovering in the 40th to 50th percentile, including The Color Purple, Legally Blonde and Xanadu. However, it was Rent's 54.5% attendance that prompted me to say to my husband, "Rent is going to close soon." I'm serious. I said this just last night!

Then lo and behold, today's headlines on announced that the award-winning rock musical will take its final bow at the Nederlander on June 1st. This comes as no surprise, really, following the summer's stunt of bringing the original leads, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, back into the fold. Jumping the shark is always a sign of things to come. I predict a similar fate for Oprah's The Color Purple.

Jonathan Larson's musical, which boasts the credential of being the 7th longest-running musical in history, is deserving of its place in Broadway's timeline. Many compare my adored Spring Awakening to Rent. Largely, in my opinion, because it is a rock musical based on a previously written work that embodies many controversial subjects. I also feel it bears its similarity in the number of young theatrical careers that have been launched by it. The OBC included Pascal, Rapp, Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who won a Featured Actor in a Musical Tony for his portrayal of Angel. I predict similar big things for the OBC of Spring Awakening. You heard it here.

So, to the Production of Rent, I tip my hat. Your seasons of love have been an incredible journey for us. Thanks for bringing us along.


Tamra said...

dude a very educated blog post!

i have been following the grosses each week for sometime now, coupled with the removal of the ad in times square (which was replaced by the old school one), and VFR shutting down because of money, i knew the end was drawing nearer. i just kept hoping that it would sustain itself somehow. the casting and quality of the production may have diminished over the past few months, but the show itself will always hold a special place in my heart.

i really would not be the person i am today if Rent had not come into my life and i will always be in debt to it

Esther said...

I'm seeing Rent on tour this weekend. I've seen the movie, but this will be my first time seeing it on stage and I'm pretty excited about it. While some of the issues may not have the same immediacy, I think the story is still very compelling.

And I loved The Color Purple when I saw it over the summer. (Without Fantasia. She called in sick, I guess). I thought it was great. The story was so moving, and it really doesn't need a "star."