“Rent,” the 1996 Broadway rock musical that challenges the way we look at life, was recently revived on Fox.
“Rent” follows eight friends with unique personalities and goals through their struggles of finding love, dealing with AIDS and connecting with others. The 2019 version of “Rent” has received mixed reviews but is a touching tribute to the original Broadway classic.
While many of the performances are solid, a few land flat even compared to the 2005 film version of the play. Tinashe and Vanessa Hudgens lead with some great vocal performances, as expected, but the rest of the cast could be described as somewhat forgettable.
An impressive aspect of the 2019 rendition of “Rent” is how it was filmed. It aired partly live – an injury during dress rehearsal left actor Brennin Hunt unable to perform live – on television which was a way that “Rent” had never been seen before.
The stage was unique, with performers surrounded by a live audience cheering on their favorite characters and singing along with their favorite musical numbers. Sadly, this can also be a distraction, sometimes shifting the attention of viewers from the performances and plot.
Although the 2019 showing is adequate enough with a 6.5 of 10 rating on IMDB, some of these new adjustments are big changes from the 1996 original and 2005 film remake, and it’s not necessarily better.
The original Broadway play tackled issues that would be considered taboo at the time, and it was also done in a professional theatre environment. Because it was new, the audience could soak in the story as they listened to the scores for the first time.
Then, the 2005 film was shot without a live audience. Instead, it gives a more dramatic and cinematic experience with strong performances from all cast members. They deliver memorable experiences, with Anthony Rapp even returning to revise his original role of Mark that he played in the 1996 debut showings of “Rent.”
All in all, the 2019 rendition was an adequate execution that stayed true to the key points of the story but didn’t quite hit the mark with less than memorable performances.
Viewers have the chance to stream both the 2005 and 2019 renditions of “Rent” anytime with a Hulu subscription.