To be fair, I've never seen the stage musical, but I love the film version. For that reason, I'm overly excited to hear that Rent is Fox's upcoming live musical — though whether it will air before A Christmas Story: Live is still up in the air. I'd jump over the moon (geddit?) if the original Rent cast was in Fox's live musical, but I'm going to guess for now that that's unlikely. After all, would Idina Menzel even have the time in her schedule? Would Anthony Rapp grace us with his lovely presence to happily sing-shout "La Vie Boheme" through our TV screens and into our eager ears?
It's definitely a big ask, but the only thing I really care about right now is knowing whether or not the original Rent cast will be starring in the live TV musical. Seriously, it's all that I need to know, here in this moment.
Now, let me just say right now that there is zero confirmation of any kind that the original Rent cast from the 1994 musical will appear in the live TV musical on Fox. Variety's news report on Rent's live TV debut is pretty trim as is, not to mention it fails to touch on original cast appearance rumors. Original cast members — which include Menzel and Rapp —haven't even mentioned this live TV adaptation news on their social media feeds (at the time of reporting, that is); that's how fresh this news is, guys.
The musical has become theatre classic since its premiere more than 20 years ago. Arguably igniting the careers of Rapp, Menzel, and actors Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, and Taye Diggs, Rent had an immense cultural impact when it hit Broadway. Each of these actors is part of a beautiful musical legacy. Even if the original cast members could appear in cameos for the live TV musical on Fox, it would be a joyous occasion.
Rent, a modern update of Puccini's famous French opera La Bohème, aimed to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis which was growing at an alarming rate back then, while also exploring the intimate and intricate lives of a close-knit group of artists, musicians, and actors living in Alphabet City, NYC. Rent also explored ideas of female sexuality, queer relationships, what it means to be an artist, and even what life pursuits are most valuable.
The musical continues to be a beacon for those looking for the truth and beauty in life and art. Rent's own truth and beauty in its exploration of some darkly realistic themes makes it such a consistently timely musical. It's definitely going to be exciting to experience it in an entirely new format: live TV.