Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rent: The Broadway Tour

I saw this in Boston on July 25, 2009, and it was the best performance of Rent that I've seen aside from the one and only time I saw it on Broadway. That's easily explained by the fact that Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal are reprising their roles as Mark and Roger as played in the original Broadway cast. These lead roles were written for them, at least in part. More so for Anthony than for Adam, but no one can play them as well as these two, for sure. I was completely blown away by this performance.

That said, The show was at the Colonial Theater, which I had never been inside of. we had orchestra seats, right side, on the aisle, about 15 rows back. But holy cats, there's only about 30 rows in the orchestra at the Colonial! That theater is so small, it was amazing. It made the show feel so much more intimate, which I think is a great, great feeling for this show. And the sound! That was my biggest complaint last time there was a tour in Providence, last year, was that the sound was just off, somehow. But the sound was so clear and perfect at the Colonial - I don't know if it was a function of the small size of the theater, or just a better sound team on this tour, but wow. I haven't heard the show sound that good in years. Adam's voice has changed a bit since I saw him on Broadway 13 years ago (yikes, where does the time go!), but not in a bad way, and he is definitely the same Roger. I've never seen anyone put that level of emotion into Roger's character. Anthony Rapp's voice sounded just as crisp and clear as it always has, and the level of emotion and love he has for the show comes through in each and every performance he gives.

I fully expected to cry, and while the tears welled, I managed to hold myself together. The biggest tear-jerker in the show for me, is Collins' I'll Cover You Reprise in Act Two - in fact, just the line "When your heart has expired" in that song, especially as sung by Jesse L. Martin, can bring me to tears, but not this time. I love the actor who played Collins in all other respects, but I didn't feel as though he gave that song the level of emotion it needs. After this performance, Kid and I both agreed that we would lay off the show for a while, because we were feeling as though this amazing performance may have ruined all other tours for us. However, I just learned that this tour has added dates in Providence in November. While I don't think I can justify paying for full price orchestra seats again, I fully intend to wait for $20 student rush at least twice during the week-long run. I bet Kid will be right there with me.

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