'RENT' Will Be Fox's Next Live Musical! Here Are 5 Things To Know About The Show

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5 Things To Know About RENT The Broadway Musical Airing LIVE On Fox
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La Vie Bohéme!

It's been less than 525,600 minutes since I've sang the entire Broadway recording of Rent in the shower.

Truth be told, I sing at least one song from the show daily.

Today's matinee of Liza's Theater included "Will You Light My Candle?"

Unfortunately for you (or extremely lucky if you ask my neighbors), you missed it.

But the good news is Fox just announced that there will be a live on-air TV production of Rent.

If you're reading this and think Rent is just the monthly bill that you pay, then hang on to your seat, my friend because I have some 'splaining to do!

According to Playbill, the musical is described as:

"Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical retelling of the 'La Bohème' story ... relocated to AIDS-era East Village, New York. A penniless songwriter's love for a young woman grows even as illness begins to consume her. The poet Rodolfo is now punk rocker Roger. Tubercular Mimi is now an AIDS-infected dancer at an S&M nightclub. Painter Marcello is now aspiring filmmaker Mark Cohen, and so forth. The ending is transformed from the opera, but the theme of love striving to endure beyond all obstacles remains."

Sadly, Jonathan Larson never lived to see the success of the show. He passed away the morning of the first preview when RENT was starting Off-Broadway. It's said he died of an aortic dissection, which is when the large blood vessel branching off the heart ruptures. 

Thankfully, his work lives on in so many forms.

Though no details have been confirmed yet as far as casting or a premiere date for the live TV production, I can tell you one person who will be auditioning.

Her name is Liza Walter and she's appeared on Maury Povich and 2, TWO, local television commercials. If that doesn't make me qualified to play Maureen, Mark's lesbian ex-lover, I don't know what will.

So here's what we know about the upcoming production and some Rent trivia you should know:

 

1. The Estate of Jonathan Larson and Marc Platt will executive produce the adaptation.


Wordpress (Jonathan Larson)

With the Estate of Jonathan Larson behind the production, we can be pretty confident that the show won't be changed or reduced to a watered down version of the original Tony Award winning musical.

Marc Platt, who worked on Fox's Grease Live, and Wicked is also a solid choice to make sure Jonathan Larson's vision and story remain consistent.

The family of Jonathan Larson had this to say, "‘Rent’​​ was Jonathan’s dream of sharing the ​theater and the passion he had for it with a whole new generation. None of us could have imagined the massive impact that the messages and themes in ‘Rent’ would have on the ​theater​ community or the world … except for Jonathan. We are absolutely thrilled to be continuing Jonathan’s legacy and ​the still-relevant ​themes of ​the show in this way.”

 

2. Some of the original cast of the Broadway production appeared in the movie version.

Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, and Jesse L. Martin reprised their Broadway roles for the film. 

Though it's probably unlikely the original cast members will appear in the TV version, especially Idina Menzel.

If you have a young child, you've probably heard Idina's voice over and over ... and over again since she was the voice of Elsa in Frozen. She sang the icon song, "Let It Go."

 

3. Original cast members Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs were married!


HuffPost (Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs)

After meeting on Rent, Taye and Idina started an on-again-off-again relationship but married on January 11, 2003.

In 2009, the pair had their son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, however things didn't stay warm and fuzzy for the talented duo. They separated in late 2013 and their divorce was finalized in December of 2014.

Idina spoke to People in 2016 about co-parenting with Taye, "“Your child comes first, that’s all. It’s all about that. He comes first and you have to get past your own egos and you never talk bad about each other.”

 

4. A Spice Girl earned the role of Mimi while the Broadway show was still playing!


LisaZinni (Mel B. as Mimi in Rent)

That's right, folks! That's Scary Spice playing Mimi, the HIV+ drug addict who falls in love with heart melting guitar player Roger.

She appeared in the show in 2014 and I was lucky enough to see her.

I thought she did a fantastic job of bringing the emotions needed for the complicated relationship that plays out on stage. 

 

5. You know that guy who wins all the awards, Lin-Manuel Miranda?

You may have heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda from a tiny little show on Broadway called Hamilton

Well, according to Miranda, you can thank Rent for that.

He told The New York Times that when his girlfriend took him to see Rent, the experience was “a revelation — that you could write about now, and you could have musicals that really felt contemporary.”

Thank you Jonathan Larson and to the cast of Rent for giving the world the gift of music in a love story that stands the test of time.

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