As anybody who watched “Rent” Live on Fox yesterday can attest, it wasn’t…exactly “live.”
During the end of the run-through dress rehearsal the night before, actor Brennin Hunt who plays one of the lead characters, Roger, broke his foot and was unable to perform. So, rather than see a real-time, live run-through of the quintessential 1996 Broadway hit, we saw a recording of the performance from the night before — their dress rehearsal.
I’m sure “disappointment” is the understatement of the century when considering the reactions of the production team, the cast, and the crew.
But it introduces a lot of interesting variables into the picture, such as:
- What’s it like to look at a work in progress before it was really ready for prime time?
- How much did the actors “go for it” in rehearsal mode?
- What about the production might have changed between the dress rehearsal and the official performance?
- How does the production industry handle “covers” or understudies for leads?
- What happens when everything you planned for comes to a screeching halt?
In the end, from what I gathered on select Tweets and Instagram, the cast performed anyway, for an audience of just the folks lucky enough to be in the room, with Roger’s character singing from a wheelchair for the whole show.
Obviously this is far from ideal. But, like any planned performance, “the show must go on” remains to be the standing mantra. And for all of us watching, we learned a valuable lesson in randomness and uncertainty — something that faces every single business or franchise out there.
I’m glad they chose to move forward with the show in the way that they did. I’m impressed that they reworked the ending at the last minute to incorporate Roger’s character, broken foot and all.
And in the end, I found it to be a humbling and encouraging experience to get a peek at what a group of people created even when they didn’t think their performance would leave the walls of that studio. If anything, it’s a good reminder that, dress rehearsal or not, you should always go for it. You never know who will be watching.
Also published on Medium.