Monday, October 22, 2007

Currently Listening
Rent (2005 Movie Soundtrack)
By Rosario Dawson, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Tracie Thoms
see related

Everything Is Rent

Jasper Speaks:

So, Kendra and I went to Rent this weekend. It was a great show. It is so much fun to be in the audience for this because it is not your usual stuffy crowd. It is almost like being at a rock concert. There was a great "Idol" influence as Anwar Robinson of American Idol Season 4 played Collins and Heinz Winckler, the first South African Idol, played Roger. Although they made a splash on TV, the two were by far the weakest performers in the show. Probably not a big shock as they probably would have never been in the show if not for their fifteen minutes of fame.

Overall the cast was strong. I was a little worried about Mimi at first but she brought the house down with Out Tonight and won me over. I felt bad for her as she had to play off of the HORRIBLE Winckler during Another Day. Although he did get better in Act Two, I think he had been told to play Roger detached and took that to mean, play him as if he were a tree and just stand there and sing.

The actress playing Joanne had a lisp. Seriously (or is it theriouthly?). I am not sure if this was a character choice or what. She sang very well. But really, she had a lisp. Not one of those "is that a lisp I hear?" lisps but it was like freakin' Cindy Brady was playing the part. Anyway, she was a strong actress and a good singer so I can put up with the idea that she sounded like she should have been tugging around a Kitty Karryall doll.

The strongest of the male cast was the actor who played Mark. He was funny and poignant right where needed and he sang great! The actor who portrayed Benny was also top notch!

The guy who played Angel, was only a rung above the idols. He was also ... uh .. Homely? Is that politically correct? One of the hardest parts about throwing myself into the show is that you didn't buy the love stories. Joanne and Maureen had chemistry (or chemithtry) but Angel and Collins really didn't even seem to like one another much. As before mentioned, it would be hard to create real love chemistry with a concrete slab, so Mimi and Roger didn't work well either. As Kendra pointed out, Anwar Robinson really sold I'll Cover You (Reprise). Of course it took Angel dying and walking offstage to believe that Collins loved him.

The actress playing Maureen was adequate. She was not the standout that you would hope for in the role. I had never realized what a small role Maureen really is until I saw this performance. I think that speaks to the acting. Idina Menzel plays her so well in the movie that she is one of the most memorable characters. It takes a big personality to pull of that part.

The soloists on Seasons of Love were, of course, INCREDIBLE and although the song has next to nothing to do with the story line and is overused in a HUGE way, it still gave me goosebumps.

I really love this show and am excited that i got to see it live. It certainly is not for everyone but it is a stirring story that reminds us that how we love matters.

(I am not endorsing this play or movie. In fact, I would tell many of you who read this blog that neither is for you. If you do not know about the play and are certain it will not offend you I suggest that you DO NOT rent the movie.)

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