New York Post
Broadway’s new lease on ‘Rent’
11:28 PM, November 4, 2010
Those soulful Lower East Side bohemians are coming back.
“Rent,” Jonathan Larson’s ground breaking 1994 musical, will be revived next year, The Post has learned.
The show, which will be staged by the original director, Michael Greif, will open at off-Broadway’s New World Stages in June, after the Tony Awards.
It will be given a new production, with a different set and cast of fresh-faced unknowns.
“We love the original cast, but they’re all on Social Security now,” jokes a production source.
That cast, almost all of whom were nobodies back in the day, included Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Daphne Rubin-Vega.
“Rent” closed in 2008, after 5,124 performances. But it remains a cultural touchstone for suburban teenagers who yearn to live the life of the struggling artist in New York City.
(Those lucky enough to live the dream, with its candles, guitars and bongs, generally do so with a subsidy from Mom and Dad, since a studio on Avenue C today rents for about $2,500 a month.)
Allan S. Gordon, an original producer of “Rent,” decided to revive the show in New York after catching a well-received concert version last summer at the Hollywood Bowl.
“The truth is, it really is timeless,” he says. “It still works.”
The Broadway production of “Rent” cost $3.5 million dollars and grossed nearly $300 million. The off-Broadway version will be capitalized at $1.5 million, Gordon says.
“Rent” began at off-Broadway’s New York Theater Workshop. Larson, who’d been working on it for years, dropped dead in his apartment of an aneurysm just before it opened.
The media attention surrounding his tragic and unnecessary death (he was misdiagnosed at the hospital) raised the show’s profile and helped propel it to Broadway, where it won four Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
A dreadful 2005 movie, directed by Chris Columbus, didn’t hurt the show at all, and “Rent” continues to be one of the most frequently performed musicals around the world.
It’ll be nice to have those cute bohemians back in New York, bringing a tear to the eye with “Seasons of Love.”
IT’S official: My favorite show (sight un seen) of all time — “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” — is postponing its first preview and opening night.
Julie Taymor’s $65 million, bone-breaking Spectacle of Insanity will now play its first paid performance Nov. 28; opening night is scheduled for Jan. 11.
(Visiting hours for performers and theatergoers who may be injured during the performance will be announced at the appropriate time.)
It’s been quite a week for the pantaloon-clad Taymor and her headed-off-the-rails musical, which is the most expensive — and dangerous — in Broadway history.
A couple of actors, one with broken wrists, the other with broken feet, are hobbling around the theater in casts. They were injured attempting a death-defying flying technique being scrutinized by safety inspectors from both the New York State Department of Labor and Actors’ Equity.
My hunch is that this newfangled sling-shot flying business is not going to pass muster. As one producer says, “Can you imagine Equity signing off on this after two people have been injured? If they do, and somebody else gets hurt, that union is going to be a joke.”
Taymor and her band of flying daredevils are going to have to ratchet down the special effects so that nobody gets killed.
By the time this show opens, Reeve Carney, who’s playing Spider-Man, will be swinging around the Foxwoods about as fast as Mary Martin did in “Peter Pan” at the Winter Garden in 1954.