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RENT OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: August 11, 2011
Synopsis: Rent returns to NYC in a new production directed by Michael Greif who directed the show's original off-Broadway and Broadway productions.
Set in the East Village of New York City, Rent is about being young and learning to survive in NYC. It's about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award® for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, Rent has made a lasting mark on Broadway with songs that rock and a story that really resonates.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"Maybe they should call it “Sublet.” The young ensemble members who inhabit the new production of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” which opened on Thursday night at New World Stages, never seem to feel truly at home. It is as if they had taken over the show for a couple of months of fun, as they might an older sibling’s house on Fire Island, and are now hesitant to treat it as their own."
"The lively East Village social scene depicted in Jonathan Larson's "Rent," the first musical written for the MTV generation, is long gone. CBGB shut down five years ago. Starving artists are unlikely to find cheap or abandoned apartments in the East Village. Attitudes on AIDS have evolved."
"You wouldn't think a musical about struggling artists facing an imminent threat of death could possibly be uplifting.
But the new off-Broadway revival of the popular rock musical "Rent," loosely based on the Puccini opera "La Boheme," radiates energetic optimism, musicality and humor, even though several of the youthful characters are HIV-positive."
""Dec. 24, 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time" is a phrase "Rent" fans know well. And they have no doubt been yearning to hear those opening words sung again on the New York stage ever since the show's original Broadway run shuttered in 2008. As documentarian Mark Cohen begins shooting without a script, the bohemian epic "Rent" starts rolling Off-Broadway in a reinterpreted version. However, this time there's a working camera and a strobe light."
"It seems like a mere 525,600 minutes since "Rent" -- Jonathan Larson's ground-breaking, Tony-and-Pulitzer-winning study of East Village Bohemians -- blew out its last candle over at Broadway's Nederlander Theater. It's already back, and the news is all to the good. "Rent" is not so provocative as it was back in 1996, but even so, the tuner is plenty effective in its new Off Broadway guise."
"Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Larson's "Rent" was the hippest musical on Broadway—which wasn't saying much. Virtually all of the musicals that opened there in the 1990s were totally forgettable and so are deservedly forgotten. "Rent," on the other hand, is well remembered, partly because it stayed open until 2008 and partly because it was the most influential show of the post-Sondheim era, a rock musical that contrived to put AIDS, drug addiction, drag queenery and homo- and bisexuality onstage without simultaneously putting off the tourist trade. Nor does its 5,123-performance Broadway run appear to have exhausted the marketability of "Rent." A new Off-Broadway production has just opened at New World Stages, the complex to which "Avenue Q" transferred two years ago after its own long run on Broadway."
"When it transferred to Broadway in 1996, trailing a Pulitzer and zooming toward multiple Tony wins, Jonathan Larson’s Rent was a revelation to some and a punch line to others. On the astonished side, you had many New York critics eager to champion a piece with the veneer of hipness and youthful urgency. Meanwhile, snickers and eyeball rolls came from people who had actually done the East Village thing: gone broke, made theater, got high and had their heart broken in a neighborhood that, by the early ’90s, was already the overpriced sandbox of trustafarians and NYU brats. The spectacle of cute bohemians belting power ballads about AIDS and art on the Great White Way seemed doubly commodified. When I finally caught up with Rent in 2001, I wanted to leave at intermission, feeling no compelling reason (narrativewise) to stay. Moreover, the rock portions of Larson’s score were overblown and phony, the characters whiny. But by then, it didn’t matter what I thought. Attended by endless hordes of Rentheads (did they actually visit the LES or just surge en masse to the Nederlander?), the show ran for 12 years before closing in 2008. Guess who had the last laugh?"
"“How did we get here?” wonders Mark Cohen, the conflicted filmmaker at the heart of Jonathan Larson’s landmark rock opera. It’s a good question, and one many of us have been asking ourselves since Rent began previews at New World Stages in July. Broadway’s seventh longest-running show has been reduced, reused, and recycled for an Off-Broadway run just three years after it played its final performance at the Nederlander Theatre, and any leftover grit clinging to Larson’s bohemian Village dwellers has been washed squeaky clean. "
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