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1/12/11

No Day but Today...


In the case of January 10, this was true for me.


A while back, I booked great seats to a concert featuring Rent Original Broadway Cast alumni Anthony Pascal and Anthony Rapp, whom played Mark and Roger respectively. I was excited for this because I never got the chance to see them in Rent. When the show debuted in 1996, I was seven years old and not old enough to see the show. At the time, it had groundbreaking themes, along with racy and mature scenes for the under thirteen crowd.
I got to see this concert this past Monday with my friend Amy. Essentially, it was a window into what the show was like back then. Rent is one of my all-time favorite shows and over the years, I have seen some great versions of the show and I have listened to the soundtrack endlessly. I saw the third to last performance of its Broadway run with Kay while we were in Boston and the show was streamed live to Regal cinemas. I also purchased the film version of the final Broadway show and have watched it five or six times. I think you get the point; I heart Rent a lot.

The concert was an amazing experience indeed; held in Town Hall in Manhattan, it was a display of Rent nostalgia and a celebration of musical theater altogether. The concert began with Adam Pascal and his band, a short intermission, Anthony Rapp and his band…and then both stars and their bands converged for an EPIC mini-Rent concert.
Pascal’s set was flat-out entertaining and a display of him at his performing best. Before beginning the concert, he shared with the audience his side of the story of him lashing out at Julie Taymor and Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. Let’s just say he said some hysterical things not meant for print.
Anyways, he was amazing…no surprise there. He sang the best version of “I Don’t Care Much” from Cabaret that I have ever heard, which is fitting because he played the role of the Emcee during its Broadway revival. He also sang his audition song that got him the role of Roger (which I am forgetting right now), some rock ballad covers, Broadway numbers and some songs he or his band wrote. He did have one low moment when he sang "Maria" from West Side Story; I found the number weird and not the best way to showcase his voice.
Rapp’s show was a little more serious and personal. He dedicated some songs to his fallen mother and Jonathon Larson, Rent's playwright and composer who died before the show debuted off-Broadway in 1994. His half of the concert, nonetheless, was great. For one, he pulled this song out…

Who saw this coming? I certainly did not…but who cares, I loved their rendition and it was fun to boot. He also sang a great version of REM’s “Losing my Religion,” his audition song for the role of Mark, along with some other covers.
The Rent numbers started at the tail-end of Rapp’s show, which let’s be honest, was worth the price of admission alone and a huge reason why I came out. The first number was Rapp’s solo version of “Without You,” which he poured his life into, but the number was okay at best. Try if you like, but the song is meant for two people.
No worries though – Rapp bounced back…

…with a killer version of “What You Own” with Pascal. This is the only duet between their two characters in the show; they did not disappoint then, and they CERTAINLY did not disappoint now.
It looked like the show was over when the stars and their bands took a bow, but that is why the curtain call was invented…to give the audience what they want. I heard the opening to this number…

…and knew immediately what was going down – one of my favorite songs of all time sung by one of my favorite singers of all time. I grabbed Amy's arm in excitement, I think I might of hurt her. This song I was dying to hear and I would have been disappointed if Pascal did not belt it out by the evening's end.
Anyways, Pascal brought the roof down, no lie. Minor complaint: this acoustic version is dramatic, but a major step down from the traditional version. Exhibit A…

…that is the song at its best and I am a little disappointed they reverted to the piano version. Still, I will take any song where he wails his lungs out.
Next up, Rapp came back out on stage and both shared a good duet on “Finale B.” The show officially ended with a sappy version of the seminal classic…

“Seasons of Love.” I cracked up a bit at Pascal singing the female solo parts. Overall, it was a nice joyous close to the concert to send me off smiling into the night.
I encourage you to see the concert if a tour stop is near you, especially if you need a Rent fix before the show debuts off-Broadway sometime within the next year. I got my money’s worth and was a witness to an awesome concert put on by two amazingly talented Broadway performers. In my world, that is an evening well spent.

2 comments:

Rich Aronstein said...

As the producer of this concert Monday night, THANK you for your thoughts and raves. It was a magical night for the fans as well as for us. Thank you for being there!

Alex Petrucelli said...

No problem, thanks for putting on a great show! If the rest of the tour is as amazing as it was at Town Hall, then the other fans will surely speak highly of the concert in a fashion similar to mine.