Neil Patrick Harris’s Most Amazing Musical Moments

This weekend I was holed up in my apartment trying to defeat a winter bug that has been plaguing me all week. As a result, I found myself in front of the boob tube watching a lot of television (namely the first season of Weeds on Netflix instant), so I caught this week’s Saturday Night Live, with host Neil Patrick Harris (NPH).

I was pretty excited to see NPH on SNL, knowing how funny he is, especially on live television, but sadly this weekend’s skits were all kind of lame. Even the skit where they made fun of the current Broadway closing situation (with NPH playing an actor portraying Mark in Rent–which he actually did do in 1997 in the LA cast of Rent) only produced a chuckle from me:

That said, NPH was the best thing in the skit, with his over-the-top angsty Mark. (However, I did love all the Broadway nods–like the lame, slow chandelier drop from Phantom of the Opera.) As you may already know, NPH has a great past of producing hilarious musical moments in the past. Here are a few of my favorites:

NPH and Jason Segal doing “Confrontation” from Les Miserables:

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RENT: Live on Broadway This Week!

Hey guys! Right now I’m literally looking outside the window onto the beach. Yup, it’s a Modern Age vacation. Anyhoo I needed to make sure I told you guys about one thing before I completely detach from the world. (Do you know how hard it is to blog from someone’s iPhone?)

The thing I wanted to mention is the Hot Ticket showings of RENT: Live On Broadway, which is going on this week starting on Wednesday, Sept 23rd and playing again on Thursday, Saturday, and Saturday.

I went to an advanced screening last week, and let me tell you, it’s really well done and a joy to watch.

Buy tickets for one of the four showings at The Hot Ticket.

PS- Back to blogging on September 29th!

Gossip Girl Alert: Leighton Meester Hearts DVF, Blake Lively Hearts…RENT?

So I didn’t wake up today and say to myself, “Dude, you should totally be a paparazzi specializing in CW stars,” but it seems as though I ended up being one today… I just happen to spot almost all the major players in the cast of Gossip Girl! I was walking around the tent for Diane von Furstenberg at Bryant Park today and all of a sudden out the corner of my eye I saw a girl wearing yellow, and then a herd of people instantly swarming around her and her friend.

Walking closer, I recognized Miss Leighton Meester! I snapped a few photos, and then only later did I realize that the other girl accompanying her was none other than Jessica Szohr!

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Seeing RENT One Last Time: “Hot Ticket” Taping

As I’m sure you’ve already heard, the long-running musical RENT will have its final performance on Broadway on September 7th. As a result, there’s been a slew of RENT-related events which have caused old-timer RENTheads like myself to come out of the woodwork. (One such event was the GMA Summer Concert series a few weeks ago where both the current Broadway cast and Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp performed songs.)

The Nederlander at night.

So you can imagine how chuffed I was to be able to attend a special performance of the current Broadway production of RENT at the Nederlander Theater on 41st Street last Wednesday. What made the show special was the fact that it was being filmed to be used in a future “Hot Ticket” theatrical release in movie theaters at the end of September (the 24, 25, 27, 28, to be exact). The final performance on September 7th will also be filmed and the best moments from each of the nights will be composited for the final cut of the film.
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RENT on Good Morning America

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.”
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Oh Noes! RENT Closing on Broadway

I’m kinda gonna cry. After 12 years of being on Broadway, the hit musical RENT will CLOSE. The last performance perform at the Nederlander Theater in NYC will be on June 1. RENT will be the seventh-longest running show in Broadway history. [UPDATE: The run of RENT has been extended until September 7, 2008]

As longtime readers of the site will know, I was a HUGE RENThead back in the day. Seeing RENT in movie form at the movie premiere at the Ziegfeld 2 years ago was one of the most awesome things ever.

rent nooooo!
Adam Pascal does not approve of this blog post.

RELATED LINKS: Rent movie films in East Village

Idina Menzel Rocks the National Anthem

Idina sang the National Anthem during the Giants/Patriots game last night. Unlike so many stars that attempt to sing the song, Idina sang it perfectly and beautifully. No off-key warbling for her–she’s a real pro.

In case you missed:

Thanks to Deb for the heads.

PS- Anyone else disturbed by Tom Brady looking kinda hot? Y/N?

tom brady

Will Chase Commits Crime Against Indierockdom

As much as I love to support Broadway theater, and as much as I love the fact that Will Chase is a former cast member of RENT, I found his interview with New York magazine to be…well…upsetting. Will is going to be the lead role in the musical theater adaptation of Nick Hornby‘s uber-music geek book, High Fidelity.

Check out this embarrassing exchange between Will and writer Jada Yuan:

NY Mag: Have you studied the clerks at Other Music?

Chase: You mean, what other music do I like?

No, I meant Other Music, the store.

Oh, other music stores?

Never mind.

Will Chase is obviously not a method actor.

Red Light Winter, RENT Turns 10, and Elbow

Ok so there were a few other things I’ve done in the last few days that I would like to mention right now.

I got a chance to go see the new play by Adam Rapp, Red Light Winter, at the Barrow Street Theater on Friday. As you may already know, I was a huge theater geek when I was a teenager, so I was trilled to get a chance to see a new stage show that didn’t involve a vague story being drawn around some 80s pop songs.

The play is basically about two college friend who spend a night in Amsterdam and bring a mysterious young prostitute back to their hotel room. A year later their paths cross again in New York, and drama ensues. It had a sold-out run at Chicago’s esteemed Steppenwolf Theater.

One of the things I didn’t realize about this play was that there’s FULL NUDITY (both male and female) in it, so if you were planning on bringing the folks to the show, you might want to think twice about it.

The dialogue can be very wordy at times (and a little hard to believe someone would say in real life), but all in all I did find the play stuck with me, even now, a few days after I’d seen it. It touches upon the themes of disillusioned (or imagined) love, poisonous relationships, and emotional cruelty that people inflict upon each other.

The ending is a little predictable and the character of Christina was kinda “eh”, but Christopher Denham‘s performance as the shy and socially uncomfortable Matt is strong and will eerily remind you of someone you know or went to high school with, as it did with me and my guest.

If you’re interested in checking the play out for yourself, head here and use the code “RW2BLOG” to get a discount of $15 off each ticket up to 8 for performances up until May 13, 2006.

WATCH: “Red Light Winter” trailer

red light winter

Speaking of Adam Rapp, did you know his brother is none other than the Pale One himself, Mr. Anthony Rapp of RENT fame? Tonight marked the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of RENT being on Broadway!!

True to the RENT line/lottery tradition, there was a lottery held for $20 tickets in the first few rows and American Idol alums Frenchie and Constantine picked out the names one by one and shouted them out using bullhorns and they ended up giving away more than the advertised 34 tickets to the benefit show.

The original Broadway cast (including Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Idina Menzel, and Taye Diggs) re-created their roles in tonight’s show. The afterparty was held at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street with celebs like uh…Joey Fatone and Luke Perry coming out to show their support.

The also have a RENT podcast you can download or subscribe to on iTunes.

As you may remember, I flipped out when I got a chance to go to the RENT movie premiere last year. Yup, I’m officially having the gayest week ever.

I also want to mention that I went to see everyone’s favorite sleepy Britrockers, Elbow, at Webster Hall last Thursday. There was one completely AMAZING new song they played (Rachel thought it was called “McGregor”?) that seriously had me crapping my pants. Anyone have a live recording of that song? I found it so powerful and moving with its ominous drum beats and soaring Guy Garvey vocals. Beauuuutiful.

elbow at webster hall

Lost Songs from the NYTW Version of “RENT”

April 23, 2006 will mark the 10th year anniversary of “RENT” on Broadway–which makes me feel really old. In honor of that I dug out some really old tape bootlegs of the original New York Theater Workshop version of “RENT”, hooked them up to my new analog output adapter and made some crappy mp3 versions of some of the “lost” songs from the show. My original tape wasn’t of the highest quality, so neither are these mp3s, but if you are a fan of the show and you haven’t heard these before I’m sure you will get a kick out of ’em.

The song “Right Brain” has the same melody as “One Song Glory” but the lyrics aren’t nearly as developed. I think you’ll see why Jonathan Larson decided to do a re-write on them. Tony Hoylen plays Roger.

The other song I have is called “Over It.” It’s a duet between Mark and Maureen discussing their relationship but it seems as though it was cut out of the show in favor of “Tango Maureen” between Mark and Joanne. It’s a pretty funny song. You can hear original Broadway cast member Anthony Rapp as Mark and Sarah Knowlton as Maureen.

DOWNLOAD: “Right Brain” from the NYTW version of RENT

DOWNLOAD: “Over It” from the NYTW version of RENT

NOTE: These mp3s are strictly for promotional purposes. If you need me to take them off for some kind of legal reason, please contact me.

Catch more lame “RENT” stuff I wrote about here and here.