Reimagining popular Broadway musicals on television is a relatively new concept, but the upcoming premiere of Rent: Live shows the trend is moving forward with growing ambitions. Past live broadcasts have covered lighter fare like Peter Pan and Grease, but Rent: Live suggests that networks are expanding to cover more serious stories, too. That's why, come Jan. 27, those without cable will want to ensure they know how to stream Rent: Live. Not only is it the first time the musical has been performed live on television (it's been live on Broadway countless times), but it's bound to be a monumental event.
The live broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET, according to Playbill, while West Coast viewers will see the show broadcast on a taped delay. Rent: Live will be airing on Fox, which means the most obvious method of viewing the show is simply to be in front of a TV tuned into Fox at the scheduled time. Cord-cutters without access to a physical TV can find a work-around by streaming the musical on Fox.com or the FOX NOW app.
These services do require a cable login, but don't fret! Those without cable still have a few other options. Streaming services that carry Fox —such as Hulu Live, SlingTV, Youtube TV, or Playstation Vue — are great options to catch the broadcast live. And if you're wary of the price, most of those services come with a free trial for people who are die-hard Rentheads but may not be the type to watch live TV with enough frequency to justify the monthly cost.
While Rent: Live will be available to stream on Hulu the following day — Monday, Jan. 28 — part of the joy of these live musicals is that the nation becomes one giant Broadway theater and everyone is allowed to talk during the performance. Taking on a musical as iconic as Rent is no small feat, as the original '90s production proved to be a watershed moment for Broadway. Since its original staging in 1996, musicals including In The Heights, Next To Normal, and Fun Home have followed in its footsteps, challenging perceptions not only about what kind of stories people want to see told, but conventions surrounding weighty, personal topics like identity, race, mental health, and sexuality.
While Rent itself is well-known by now — unless, apparently, you're Vanessa Hudgens — viewers will be able to take to social media to relive what they love about the show and re-examine what aspects of it age better than others, while superfans will likely be keeping an eye out for (and documenting) differences that make the occasionally profane musical suitable for network television. The airing of Rent: Live is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the only way to truly experience the show the way it is intended to be consumed is to settle in with whatever television, laptop, phone, or other screen you can get your hands on and tune in live along with the rest of the nation.