Happy “Rent: Live” Sunday! As they say, there’s no day but today to watch this television premiere live with a million of your closest friends (it just rolls off the tongue).
Just a reminder to those who have yet to swear allegiance to Jonathan Larson’s Bohemian Revolution, “Rent” has a lot going on. It is, after all, based on Puccini’s opera “La Bohème.” In other words, there are a lot of characters, it gets complicated, and it will make you cry.
Before you settle into your couch, here’s a quick refresher to set you up for success.
First, let’s start with how everyone knows eachother. Mark Cohen (Jordan Fisher) and Roger Davis (Brennin Hunt) are roommates. Tom Collins (Brendan Victor Dixon), Maureen Johnson (Vanessa Hudgens), and Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III (Mario) all used to be roommates with Mark and Roger. Joanne Jefferson (Kiersey Klemons) is Maureen’s girlfriend, Mimi Marquez (Tinashe) is Roger’s girlfriend, and Angel Dumott Schunard (Valentina) is Collins’s boyfriend.
Okay, next part. Here’s a very simplified breakdown of what everyone does outside of singing about not paying rent.
Mark is a filmmaker. Roger is a musician. Tom is a part-time philosophy professor. Maureen is a performance artist. Benny is a landlord. Joanne is a lawyer. Mimi is a dancer. Angel is a street performer and drag queen.
Of course, any opera worth its salt has a touch of the morbid. In this case, “Rent” has it in spades with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In “Rent,” Roger is HIV positive, Tom Collins has AIDS, Mimi is HIV positive, and Angel has AIDS.
There’s a lot more to it, but consider yourself fully prepared to just soak it all in.
Like I said, you will cry. So, just have that box of tissues on hand and we’ll get through this together. Happy viewing!
…just for fun: