Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jeff Potter, Anthony Jackson, Daniel A. Weiss|
Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-... more »
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Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way. Transposing Puccini's 100-year-old opera La Bohème into modern day Bohemia (19th-century Paris's Left Bank becomes late-20th-century New York's East Village where the scourge of tuberculosis becomes the plague of AIDS) Rent celebrates life among the young, sick, and unconventional. While Broadway shows are hardly the place for authentic portrayals of the latest marginalized hipsters, composer Jonathan Larson (who died at age 36, days before his musical opened) managed to sculpt vivid characters and scenes that bring Avenue A as close as it will ever come to 42nd Street. And by telling a socially relevant story of living without the guarantee of a future (renting, that is), Larson does his own little bit to define an X'ed generation. At worst, Rent is the Hair of the '90s. For the majority of us who won't be seeing Rent anytime soon, the Original Cast Recording is more than just an after-show souvenir. Well-packaged with a complete libretto, the two-CD set is a worthwhile album separate of live performance. Full of songs that are funny and catchy, inspiring and touching, smart and hip and not overly sentimental, Rent mixes showtune pop with elements of rock, R&B, dance, gospel, and tango to make one of the best albums of the year--certainly the best rock opera in decades. La vie bohème, indeed. --Roni Sarig
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Member CD Reviews
Lyn M. from LAKE WORTH, FL
Reviewed on 11/20/2011...
The original Broadway is always special...few get to hear a show on Broadway
"No day but today" - Jonathan Larson's "Rent"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 01/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Rent" is one of those musicals where Barbra Streisand is never going to cover any of the songs on one of her Broadway albums. The pastiche of music styles reminds me of "Hair," "Godspell" and "Cats"--there are 43 tracks, including a reprise of "Seasons of Love" featuring Stevie Wonder singing with the 15-member cast--and to a large extent "Rent" also shares with those shows the ensemble nature of the cast. But just because the songs from this show are not destined to be Broadway standards does not detract from their power. These are songs driven by character and context more than melody and voice, reflecting pretty much the complete spectrum of musical styles. You have straight forward rock-and-roll in "Rent" and "Goodbye Love," but also everything from Gospel in "Seasons of Love to the Tango in "Tango: Maureen." More importantly, what stands out in the performance of these songs is how the characters are more prominant than the voices: Adam Pascal as Roger, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi, Anthony Rappas Mark, Jesse L. Martin as Tom, Taye Diggs as Ben, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel. This is a story with songs and the intergration of the two is something you would expect much more from an opera than a traditional musical. This would make sense since "Rent" was inspired by Puccini's opera "La Boheme," but knowledge of the "original" is not at all necessary, although when Collins loses his coat ("You Okay Honey") that will bring a smile of recognition to those who are in the know as will a couple of guitar riffs. The main thing is that if we are talking opera, that means at least one of the lead characters will be dead by the time the curtain rings down. Certainly in that regard "Rent" is a sobering story, with the additional pathos of the death of its creator Jonathan Larson on the day the show opened. Instead of poverty we are now dealing with the dregs of society, people afflicted by drugs and disease. Thus we have Roger, the song-writer and ex-junkie struggling with writer's block and Mimi, the beautiful junkie from downstairs, as well as Collins and Angel, both HIV-Positive. These are people who celebrate the New Year remembering those they have lost and wondering who will be next. The East Village industrial loft that is the setting for "Rent" is a place where those abandoned by the world find comfort in each other and the philosophy that there is always "No day but today." I keep coming back to the idea that "Rent" is one of those theatrical experiences we hear tell about from time to time, richly deserving of the Pulitizer Prize and well worth catching on tour."
Even more meaning when you've lived it
Trent Manson | 11/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Rent in 1996. That year was quite a year for me. I first tested positive for HIV, my lover died of AIDS, I was an addict at that time. and I saw Rent for the first time (the first of 6 times over the past almost 10 years). Those who claim that Rent is trite, or meaningless, that the characters aren't real clearly haven't been exposed to the things I have in my life. Rent is relevant on so many levels.
So many talk about their favorite songs from this recording, and there are so many different lists of favorites, as Rent shows we are all individuals and our spirits are all drawn to different things. Interestingly, my strongest connection is to "Will I?" I never see that listed on any list of favorite selections, but for me it is incredibly moving. For all 6 of the shows I've been to, I've been lucky enough to get the $20 "night of" seats in the front row. Each and every time, "Will I?" turned me into a sobbing mess. Why? Well, every day for the past almost 10 years, I've asked myself the same questions. They are pretty much ingrained in the soul of every HIV+ person I know. These are fears and apprehensions that touch each of our souls deeply.
The rest of the CD is also beautiful. Let's face it, this was supposed to be raw and real, and not meant to be another Phantom or Les Mis.
Finally, the reprise of "I'll Cover You" has great meaning for me. Living in San Francisco in 1996, I knew a few people in the business and was able to get the music early on. It was performed live at my lover's memorial service and I have to say it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Has Rent changed my life? Probably not. My life was changed enough without Rent. I will say that it has helped me to put words to my life, to things that are hard to put words to.
I can't say this CD will change your life. I can't say that this recording is still relevant to our world today. Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.
No Day But Today...."