If you’re looking for a show to see on Broadway, why not pick one that won’t be there after June 1? “Rent” is closing after a 12-year-run. [via New York Times] This has me thinking that perhaps I ought to head to NYC to see it once more myself. I saw this show several years ago when the Broadway touring company was in Columbus. I can vouch that there’s not another show out there with so much heart.
For anyone who has struggled to find ones place in the world, make a difference, and be heard, you’ll relate. Even if you know someone like that, you’ll relate. The musical, based on Puccini’s opera “La Bohème” was written as a partial response to the AIDS crisis, as well as the gentrification of many New York City neighborhoods.
Since the mid-1980s there are neighborhoods in NYC, once affordable and a bit edgy, that have become more and more boutique drenched with nifty little eateries only middle class folks and those with deeper pockets can afford. My brother’s neighborhood near Mark’s Place is one of them. One of my favorite restaurants, Rectangles once served a wonderful Middle Eastern appetizer plate, but it closed because of not being able to afford the rent anymore. This was only two or three years ago, but it was affected by the change.
Some critics wonder if “Rent’s” message has passed, similar to the criticism of the musical “Hair” that made a small comeback this past year (I know of two productions.) Personally, I don’t think so. Regardless, the lyrics and music are absolutely wonderful. Now that it’s closing, this opens up the possibility of more regional theaters staging a production. Already the song “Seasons of Love” has made it into school choir concerts.
I think the story remains pertinent. There are always people who struggle, make friendships, get disappointed, feel hope and looking for fantastic lyrics to sing their heart out (at least to themselves.) In “Rent’s” case, the singing–boisterous, often joyful, and mostly hopeful–comes in the type of songs that you’ll actually remember once the curtain has gone down and you are back in your own life searching for your “one song” that lets you know that you’ve made a difference. Here’s a You Tube video that includes “One Song Glory.” Switch the in the word “post” for “song” and there is the blogger’s version. I always keep my guitar on hand.