On Sunday, September 7, the final curtain was called on Jonathan Larson's RENT.
I start my Broadway blog, Midtown Utopia, with this poignant event. To say that RENT changed my life would be quite the understatement. I went to see the Benny Tour in Tempe, AZ in March of 2000 on a Sunday. The matinee had me sitting in the first tier of Gammage Auditorium eagerly waiting what I was about to watch. I had no idea what to expect or what, almost 9 years later, would do to my life.
There are only a few moments of that very first show that I can clearly remember. I recall telling my friend at intermission, as we were eating peanut M&Ms that Angel was my favorite and that I couldn't wait to see how it would all pan out. After, my mom purchased the cast recording and I soon had the cd in constant rotation. So much, that it became scratched and would have to be replaced many times. I can recall sitting on my bed, leafing through the the libretto, reading the names of the cast members and picturing how it would look on stage at the Nederlander on Broadway. How intimate the show must feel in such a small house, on such a small stage. How the energy must be bouncing off the walls during La Vie Boheme, how I'll Cover You: Reprise must bring the house down every night, how people must be exclaiming how much they enjoyed the show as they spilled out on 41st street.
As I said earlier, almost 9 years later, and I have been very lucky to see many incarnations of my beloved show. So many different casts, so many different takes on one single line, one single laugh, one single melody, had really taken over how much I enjoyed live theatre. Before RENT, I only had a few shows under my viewing belt. I knew The Phantom of the Opera, I had been able to see Carol Channing in Helly, Dolly but with RENT, it was special. It was different. It was life. It was death. It was funny. It was sad. It was me. And I could not wait to be a part of it somehow.
Since moving to the east coast for school I have been lucky enough to see many new shows open on Broadway. Yet in a way I feel like I've always neglicated that green building. I had only seen RENT in October with Anthony Rapp (Adam Pascal was out that matinee and I was able to see Luther Creek, amazing btw). I guess what I'm getting at, is that is my real regret. I know I'm supposed to "Forget, regret or life is yours to miss." But if I could turn back the clocks, I would have loved to have seen more performances, espcially would have loved to seen Caren Lyn Manuel as Mimi or Maureen. (love love love her!)
So to know that I had tickets to attend the last performance on Broadway was suprisingly bittersweet. Going into the theatre, I had mini spazz attacks because I kept noticing people left and right. And these people I had never seen before in person, these people were my Broadway idols. To know that they appreciated the life and work and integrity of the show meant everything. To be in attendance was just flabbergasting. I am so thankful for everything.
So to come to a close on my first entry, thanks for reading. I'm not sure what to expect from this blog but who knows. The gentleman sitting in front of my friend and I on Sunday turned around and told me I should start a blog. No joke. So here I am. Starting my first Broadway blog. Enjoy! ps- If you are wondering why I choose to call this blog "Midtown Utopia", I do have a reason. Junior year in high school, we were asked to bring in something that reflected what we felt was our "Utopia". At the height of my RENT craze, I brought in a plywood board, of Midtown New York City. I had styrofoam buildings with the logo of the show on them and in correct position as they are in real life...my utopia.