Was Rent considered a good musical?

Rent was a very popular musical in the 1990s. I never saw a stage production, but I’ve listened to the music and seen the movie. I’m not sure what the big deal was. Am I missing something?

It depends on who you ask – Like Cats, Passions, and Miss Saigon, it is difficult to get an objective opinion. IMHO (not a raving lunatic fan here) I think it is good. Not great, but certainly good.

Have you listened to the music from the movie or from the musical itself? The movie soundtrack is way worse than the cast recording from the musical, imho.

Everything pales in comparison to CATS, must say. Nonetheless, yes, Rent is a Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, so was considered good.

It has its rabid followers, but the music is, IMHO, appallingly bad.

Popularity is not a reliable index of quality, but there are musicals that everybody loves and a few people don’t care about (Oklahoma, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray, ad infinitum), and then there are musicals that a some people love and a lot of people absolutely hate (*Cats, Dracula, Rent, *ad nauseum).

It has its defenders, but it has a LOT more detractors than many of the classics of modern musical theatre.

That said, you should certainly decide for yourself.

I’ve tried learning to like it, and after several years, finally gave up. Larson took the gorgeous plot and characters from *La Bohème, *and removed everything that was romantic and moving and beautiful.

I think if he hadn’t died when he did, nobody would have cared.

Ah, the old “it’s only because the author died that it became a hit” excuse… Look, that might have held water if the thing peaked two years into its run and then plummeted, but you’re trying to tell me that a “bad” musical is still going to be going strong ten years later based only on the sympathy of it’s deceased author? Huh uh.

It’s your right (obviously) to not like it, but that reasoning is pretty flimsy.

dalej42, get thee to a stage production. As I said in the thread I started a while back, the film is to the show what Olive Garden is to Italian food.

To offer a somewhat contrary but somewhat agreeing opinion… don’t see the stage show, see the movie. Then get the CD of the stage show. Don’t actually try to go see the stage show. It’s confusing, and they never mix the audio levels well.

The music is FANTASTIC. It’s been on my short list of CDs to listen to for almost 10 years now, and I’ve never gotten sick of it. And the movie, while not perfect, is very very good.

Every stage musical has its fanatics, and RENTheads are no worse or better than any others. Every decade gets a musical from some unknown that becomes a huge hit as the voice of the decade, and RENT was the one for the 1990’s*.

Anyone who likes the show should check out tick…tick…BOOM, Jonathan Larson’s first stage musical. It was revived off-Broadway to good reviews, a cast CD is out, and recently it played in London, making the stage debut of Neil Patrick Harris, who got surprisingly good reviews.

*1950’s–Man of LaMacha
1970’s–Jesus Christ Superstar
1980’s–Les Miserables
2000’s–Could be MAMMA MIA!, except the show doesn’t fit the criteria. Something else might still come along that does.

Got tickets for an August showing of MM, on pins and needles. :wink:

Stage debut? I seem to recall Neil Patrick Harris playing Mark in one of the earliest touring companies of RENT. ET (I think) showed footage of him singing the beginning of La Vie Boheme.

I’ll see if I can find a cite…

He was also the Emcee in the Caberet revival and the balladeer in the Broadway cast of Sondheim’s Assassins.

As to Rent, I enjoyed it, the music was catchy and memorable, but I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of it (god, certainly not a RENThead shudder.) I saw the Broadway show once or twice several years ago and the movie once. I’d recommend it though.

:smack: Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald, of course.

That was supposed to read “LONDON stage debut…”

Rent was very well regarded from the beginning, and not just from rentheads. I wouldn’t considered it the greatest musical ever made, but it certainly was decent (though I found the ending a cheap cop-out that panders to the lowest common denominator in the audience and is reminiscent of a particularly absurd scene in Nicholas Nickleby played seriously).

Overall, and up until then, it’s pretty good.

I think Rent hasn’t aged well. It was topically tied to the period when it was written and as that period fades into history, Rent’s appeal is also fading.

I think the opposite is true. I took my kids to see the movie, and got to talk to them about Tompkins Square, and performance art, and situationalism, and a lot of other stuff in which their interest is purely historical.

I was the right age (same as the characters) when RENT showed up, and doing musical theater (kind of). And at that moment, it felt “right” and it sounded “right” or at least right enough. And while to overlook the imperfections because there were enough things about it that worked.

It isn’t timeless, which is one of the problems. Much like HAIR. (I see that and think “Everyone must have been high - how else could this be staged? Much less enjoyed?”) It belongs to a very specific time period and a very specific demographic in that period.

One nice thing about the ending…

However much it might seem like a copout happy ending, don’t forget that they all (well three of them) still have AIDS. It’s not like Mimi was cured. She just hasn’t died yet.

Avenue Q, hopefully :smiley: