How Do I Love a Problem Like ‘Rent’?

How Do I Love a Problem Like Rent

The televised Fox production of Rent Liveother than the production hiccups that led to it being majorly pre-recorded rather than actually “live,” resurrected both the problems and affection I had with the original stage musical. The lyrics still resonated with me even if I now scratch my head at the story, characters, and the handling of the historical context.

In 2007, I was a middle schooler in Texas exploring the concept of sexuality. As a middle schooler under a conservative father, I understood sexuality and love as the traditional binary, male and female, husband and wife, bride and groom, boyfriend and girlfriend. My knowledge of queerness was developing. My father told me that marriage had to be between man and woman and that men holding hands or a woman marrying a woman is unnatural. Then Rent showed me a love duet between two men.

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rent live snafu

With Grease: Live and A Christmas Story, Fox can claim at least 50% credit for bringing the live musical back to TV. NBC has done their share of live musical heavy lifting too. However, Rent: Live was the first production that did not go according to plan. An injury prevented star Brennan Hunt from performing live, so a prerecorded dress rehearsal was aired instead.

Speaking with the Television Critics Association today, new Fox Entertainment president Charlie Collier stood by the Rent: Live production. A reporter asked if they’d consider understudies in future live musicals, but Collier said that wouldn’t be possible.

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A Christmas Story Musical Live

The trend of live broadcast musical productions on network television will continue in the coming year with three new projects announced at the competing networks of NBC and FOX. The two have been going back and forth with musical productions in recent years with NBC tackling the likes of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz and Hairspray and FOX taking on Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The latter has some catching up to do, which is probably why they’ve announced two upcoming musical adaptations while NBC has just announced one.

Over at FOX, they’ll be tackling A Christmas Story, which has already been turned into a Tony-winning musical on stage, and the famous Broadway musical RENT. Meanwhile, NBC will take on a much older musical in the form of Jesus Christ Superstar. Find out more details on each after the jump. Read More »