Some time in 2005:
We were at dance rehearsals. One of my fellow dancers gathered us around and said that we just had to listen to this girl sing this song. It was Idina Menzel as Elphaba singing “No Good Deed” from Wicked. That was the start of my theatre obsession.
From there, Idina led me to Rent, from 1996. I was in the 8th grade, and absolutely in love with this musical. Every project that I could do was around HIV/AIDS. Charity was toward those either living with the disease or left behind by those who succumbed to it.
September 22, 2009:
My sister happened to be a flight attendant at the time, and I managed to talk my parents into taking me to NYC for our fall break. They even indulged me, and we did a theatre walking tour, hitting all of my favorites. Rent had closed earlier in 2008. We walked up to the Nederlander, and it so happened that they were moving another show in. Glancing through the doors, I could see the door to the back alley open. My mom asked one of the guys in the crew if we could walk in. He couldn’t care less.
If you’re unaware, the back wall of the Nederlander was a “guest book” of sorts, where people had the opportunity to write messages to the cast or about the show. Even though Rent had moved out earlier that year, the wall was still intact, full of emotional messages.
It was truly an experience. I walked back to my parents and just started crying because I was so sad that the show had closed.
When they closed, they recorded the final live performance, as well as some close up shots in the weeks leading up to it. That was top on my list for Christmas that year. Beautiful. It just takes my breath away every time. This show is one of those guaranteed cry movies.
September 15, 2017:
Almost eight years to the date of when I walked into the Nederlander for the first time, I got to see Rent! It’s the 20th Anniversary National Tour. I was tremendously concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the expectations I had due to the stellar cast of the closing Broadway cast. I mean, how can you beat Eden Espinosa, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Tracie Thoms, etc.?
I was not disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised by Collins and Angel. Joanne had the great gospel jaw and a fabulous belt. The “Seasons of Love” soloists left me wanting more. However, the most upsetting was the Maureen. God bless the poor girl, but it felt like she was really forcing the part. I mean, who on earth am I to talk, but still.
I teared up as soon as I walked in and saw the set. It was just a surreal experience. Of course, all of Act II was a blur through tears. My heart is so happy.
Don’t tell anyone I told you, but they have the full final recording on YouTube.