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Brooks Walker
Brooks Walker

Rent Original Broadway Cast Recording Torrent

I am a big fan of the recent spate of live television performances, featuring theater and movie classics. My anticipation for "Rent: Live" was compounded by the fact I have never seen a performance of "Rent". Unfortunately, due to an injury to a lead actor, much of the televised show was not live, though it was performed before a live studio audience. But that is a small concern.The musical written by Jonathan Larson is an adaptation of the opera "La boheme" by Puccini. It is a rock opera in the tradition of "Jesus Christ Superstar", where almost all lines are sung and it encompasses a wide variety of musical styles. Puccini's story is modernized and reconceptualized to fit a storyline that includes socio-political subjects. The modern narrative attempts to cover too much ground, diluting each of its divergent points of view. Still, most of its shortcomings are overcome by the show's strong musicality.The "Live" performance includes some changes from the original Broadway version, but it did not hurt the production. "Purists" might disagree, but how do they answer the purists who preferred the OG opera, "La boheme"?I found the studio audience to be annoying at times, interfering with the sound and acting like fans at a taping of "American Idol", but the sound was good through most of the show. In fact, so much of the production is excellent, it is difficult to single out any one discipline. Let's just say this performance is ambitiously staged and up to the task.The cast features a strong coterie of musical talents. In a host of strong voices and irresistible personalities, I found Vanessa Hudgens's performance the most surprising. Perhaps, I have underestimated her; her performance of "Take Me or Leave Me" ("Rents" version of Puccini's "Quanto M'en Vo") was electric.I am glad I watched this event. Though Larson's musical offers no concise philosophy where some might seek to find one, it is a moving and entertaining work that ratifies the humanity in all of us. The end of the performance includes appearances by members of the original Broadway cast---a fitting tribute to Larson and his artistry.

Rent Original Broadway Cast Recording Torrent

  • I'm such a purist with certain things and admit that change can be tough for me. Last night watching Rent Live was an interesting experience. It was great to hear music that I grew up on, it was great to watch characters reinterpreted, it was great to bear witness to this generations "interpretations" of what was a monumental show for its time and most of all it was great to critique it.The Core CastMarc - Jordan Fisher captured the essence of Marc, except for his overarching Jewishness and quirkiness. I had a hard time adjusting to this person cast as this character, but ultimately warmed up to him. He did, however, possess a bit too much swag for Marc, but overall his singing was on point. He nailed his choreo and lyrics in La Vie Boheme (more on that number later)Roger - Brennin Hunt's portrayal was absolutely, hands down best of this entire cast. His rawness, grittiness and pure "rock" was beautiful (not to mention his musicality on point...or fleek as today's kids would say).Mimi - Tinashe was alright when solo - I wish he signing had a bit more "oomph." She was quickly overshadowed by her cast mates, but her chemistry with Hunt was fantastic.Maureen - Vanessa Hudgens is my second favorite casted character. She slayed and delivered like some of the greatest Maureen's I've ever seen.Joanne - Kiersy Clemons was a great choice. Super powerful and what I'd expect from anyone cast as Joanne.Angel - Valentina was an utter disappointment. There are other words I'd like to use but shall refrain. But to say I was left appalled is an understatement. One of the most iconic drag characters in modern theatre was left gassed, off pitch and with no All Star quality I'd vote for.Collins - Brandon Dixon as Collins was my third favorite character. He brought his energy to Collins' character and chyle...he was good! His "I'll Cover You" reprise was easily up there with one of my top five performances of the night.Benny - Mario as Benny brought him to life. Not the best. Not the worst. He was acceptable. Too much of his usual lines seemed to have been cut.Supporting CharactersCy - played by Keala settle was a gender-flipped version of Paul. I missed his character although Keala delivered and brought life to her roles. While she absolutely came through, she is a bit too polished for this show at this point in her career. She needed to be a bit more raw and organic in her approach.Gordon - meh.Iconic Moments (That failed)The opening - the change in lyrics and softening of language is just not ok. It's ok to curse. Sometimes they provide the exact words needed.

  • It's Hicksville. It's always Hicksville that can't be taken out of the girl. Always.

  • I'll Cover You - thank the world for Dixon who carried an absolutely ghastly (and utterly gassed) Valentina.

  • La Vie boheme. So much was lost here. I was deeply saddened by the blatant omission of lyrics. I want my meatless balls and tofu dog platter.

  • Seasons of Love. There is something so simple about this song that was only accentuated by the humanity seen under spotlights...singing. Simplicity. This song was overdone and lost its feeling. Sad moment.

  • Contact - it was let down by the obvious issues I voiced above - but from my memory of each time I have seen this show this scene should be the juxtaposition of sex/masturbation/self-love with Angel dying. It's a terribly hard role to manage and portray and it was utterly lost.

  • Moments that Stole the ShowOne Song Glory - thank you Brennin for delivering (even if it wasn't entirely "live")

  • Life Support - this was well done and thank you the staging for appropriately lighting up Roger; "Because reason said I should have died, three years ago...." There was no need for a lyric change here.

  • Over the Moon - Hudgens slayed this - plain and simple.

  • I'll Cover You (Reprise) - second best moment of the entire show. This moment brought and delivered ALL of the feels.

  • Seasons of Love - when the original cast showed the world what it's supposed to be like. Thank you for redeeming and bringing back the feels.

Thank goodness the second half of the show made amends, to some degree. The moment that filled my heart was when the OBC sang, as it was meant to be sung, Seasons of Love. Thank you for closing the show that way. I know it meant a lot to the original rentheads. As for the people bitter about the show not being "live?" Get over it. Accidents happen and yes, they gambled. But since it was filmed live we didn't miss a damn thing. And did you see the cast Brennin was sportin'? C'mon now...It was overall an OK performance - three out of five. I've seen better live versions of the show - and the whole nod to Shakespearean "theater in the round" was a Just not my cup of tea of this production. I shall watch it again, and likely again...and again. It's is Rent, after all. I am glad that the messages are still on point and affecting new generations of people in the same ways that it affected us who grew up with this music in the 90's. I know Jonathon Larson is smiling down and happy that his vision and dream has been realized. I cried the day I heard he died...but at least Michael Grief has continued to pass on and allow Laron's legacy to live on.

The heights referred to in the title of the Broadway musical In the Heights is Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan adjacent to the George Washington Bridge largely occupied by working-class Hispanics, many of them from the Dominican Republic and other islands in the Caribbean. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars in the show and is also given a credit for conceiving it as well as writing the songs, clearly knows the neighborhood intimately. When, at one point, a character reminisces about the subway trains, the IRT 1 and 9, that serviced the area, his character, Usnavi, quickly points out that the 9 has been discontinued. Usnavi, the owner of a bodega (a small grocery) who dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, is not only knowledgeable about local transportation. In the introductory song "In the Heights," as he introduces the many other characters in this ensemble piece, rapping over salsa music, he uses words such as "exacerbated" and at one point, speaking of the high temperature, notes, "It's gotten too darn hot like my man Cole Porter said." Usnavi is, in other words, a bit too well educated to be what he claims, and the mixture of closely observed street life with erudition is typical of the show's writing, just as Miranda's music, while infused with Latin and hip-hop elements, is also informed by contemporary show music writing. There's no doubt he's familiar with Stephen Sondheim as well as Jonathan Larson, whose Rent is a major influence, even if it's about an entirely different neighborhood of Manhattan. Like Rent, In the Heights follows the lives of a group of characters whose aspirations and experiences have something of a soap opera quality, though the intention is to provide a panoramic view of a bustling community. There is the sense of that neighborhood's falling apart: several of the characters want to leave, others are being forced out. (At one point, Usnavi predicts that in five years the whole city will consist of nothing but rich people and hipsters, a forecast people have been making for a century or so.) But while they're still on the hot streets, they sing and dance and interact with each other, and Miranda has captured their stories well. The large cast, also including Mandy Gonzalez, Karen Olivo, and Olga Merediz in principal roles, does well by the score on this double-CD cast album, which runs 89 minutes.


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