'Cause Everything Is RENT!

Another long overdue blog.

That's me with three of my closest college friends - Krystal, Lyca and Gen. We got to see the very last show of the 2010 Manila run on Feb. 28.

This after about 4 years of professing undying love and devotion to Jonathan Larson's masterpiece.

My first real memory of Rent was sometime in early 2001 when I was doing theater and my group wanted to do 'Seasons of Love'. I borrowed someone's cassette copy of the soundtrack and listened to it once. I didn't know what the musical was about and I don't remember being fascinated then.
Then the movie version came out in 2005 and was released here early 2006 exclusively to Ayala malls. I remember finally being curious about the story and decided to watch it - sadly not in the cinema. Let's leave it at that.
I was hooked. Been a Rent-head since then.
I now have a copy of both the movie and original Broadway soundtracks. I've memorized all the songs and I'm just not getting sick of them even after all this time.

One of my goals in life was to one day watch the show live on Broadway but that was crushed when the show closed last September 2008.
Thankfully, Sony filmed the last show and released it on DVD. Thanks to Tobie, I also got to see that - but sadly not on DVD. Let's leave it at that.
So imagine my surprise late last year when Jon plurked about auditions for a new Rent production to be staged here by 9 Works Theatrical! I may not have had plans of auditioning, but it was exciting because it meant that a company is staging it and I was finally gonna see it live!

Last December, mere weeks after the cast was announced, Dante sent me on an assignment to cover Feel Harmonic Encore.Having followed 9 Works on Twitter & Facebook, I knew that the cast was gonna be there. So I went but I felt that their performance Seasons of Love and Finale B at the time was sorely lacking. I don't know. I just wasn't wowed.
The cast then went on to make an appearance on the now-defunct SOP. My friends who got to see them were a tad disappointed. Based on these and reviews from friends from within and without local theater, I knew I had to lower my expectations just a bit when I finally get to see it with the geeks and my college friends.
Speaking of the geeks, it turns out one of the the producers was Oneal's classmate in grade school (or was it high school? Can't remember).

Then I finally got to see it. It took all of my energies to refrain from singing along but I managed to lip sync at least. The moment Fred Lo as Mark Cohen began his dialog, part of me was already teary-eyed. I can't believe I was finally seeing it live. It was epic for me all the way through.

So now, I've experienced the original Broadway cast, the movie cast, the final cast and the Manila 2010 cast. I couldn't help myself. I just had to do this:

Angel Dumott Schunard
*This is actually Job's first role in professional theater. He did great.

Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III
*Rodney Hicks was Taye Diggs' understudy in the original production.
I first saw Noel Rayos on Atlantis' 'Hairspray' and 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'.

Joanne Jefferson
*I thought Jenny Villegas lacked that spunk that made Joanne as a character stand out.

Mark Cohen
*Adam Kantor and Fred Lo have something in common: They were both still in college when they got the role -  Adam in Northwestern University and Fred in De La Salle University.

Maureen Johnson
*This is the second time Eden Espinosa took over a role originated by Idina Menzel - the first was when we she performed as Elphaba in Wicked.
I first saw Carla Guevara-Laforteza on Atlantis' 'Avenue Q' and 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'.

Mimi Marquez
*I thought Nicole Asensio's version of Mimi was much closer to Daphne Rubin Vega's while Rosario Dawson and Renee Elise Goldsberry mirrored each other.

Roger Davis
*I don't know what it is but Gian Magdangal failed to move me!
Boy, was he oh-so-hoarse after two performances prior to the one I saw.

Tom Collins
*Surprisingly, I first saw OJ Mariano when he was a 'celebrity speller' the second time I saw Spelling Bee. I was like 'Who? How is he a celebrity?!"
He did a memorable Tom Collins though.

So there. Here's me with the rest of the geeks. That's Shey's scarf around my neck, which I borrowed just for the night.

Oh, and last Wednesday, I snagged a copy of Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway DVD at 50% off to boot. So here's everything RENT that I now own:
Souvenir program and ticket to the left.
DVDs to the right: Rent movie on top and Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway at the bottom.
Not in picture: Rent souvenir shirt.

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