This morning I got up at the buttcrack of dawn in order to get to Bryant Park by 6am. “Why?” you may ask? Because the current cast of RENT, alongside original cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, were performing as part of the Good Morning America (GMA) Summer Concert series, and I had good enough fortune to get a VIP entrance with a fellow “RENThead” friend who worked at ABC.
Yes, yes, as you are probably already aware, I’m a long-time RENT fan, so although it was not *fun* trying to catch the subway when it was nearly pitch black out, I did it anyway (for the sake of the LOLz).
After 7am there were a few sound checks–first with Adam and Anthony (practicing “What You Own”), then with the full current cast, which just happens to feature two additional original cast members: “Seasons of Love” soloist Gwen Stewart and former ensemble member Rodney Hicks (now playing Benny). Tracie Thoms, who played the role of Joanne in the 2005 movie remake of the musical has also joined the production for it’s final months. (RENT will close September 7, 2008, making it the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.)
During sound check, one of the current members of the Bway cast handed Anthony their camcorder and Anthony went gonzo filming them as they rehearsed “Seasons”–to the point where he was directly in the audience’s sightlines, up in all the performer’s faces. I guess once a “Mark” always a “Mark.”
During the live show Diane Sawyer interviewed Adam and Anthony and talked about the plans for them to reprise their original roles as part of the final national touring company of RENT which begins on January 6, 2009 in Cleveland, OH. She asked the men how they and their “mid-30-year-old” bodies were holding up in rehearsals. (Um… try LATE-30s… both Adam and Anthony are just a couple years shy of 40!!) They said that they were holding up pretty well, and that the music pretty much came back to them quickly.
I find it slightly sad to see near 40-year-olds pretending to be early 20-somethings on a nightly basis, but hey, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it. In fact, judging by the crowd reaction, many of today’s younger RENT fans don’t seem to be perturbed by the age difference whatsoever. One young woman in the front row held up a sign that said “Tomorrow is my birthday and all I want was a kiss from Adam Pascal.” When the warm-up comic read this sign aloud, the audience in my area kinda groaned an uncomfortable, “Um…. ew.”
What do you think–are Adam and Anthony really too old to be taking a crack at Roger and Mark one last time?