by Benjamin Rivera
Truly, everything about working on Rent: Live on FOX is beyond a dream come true. We are just now starting week three of rehearsals and going into rehearsal every day still feels like Christmas morning. I have the honor of being in a room with some of the most talented artists, and we are creating something truly amazing. We are working with the original director from Rent on Broadway, Michael Greif, and Jonathan Larson's sister, Julie Larson. Two people who knew Jonathan very well and who have spent decades keeping his vision alive. It's so moving to see how much they love this show, and it's an honor as artists to be a part of telling this story in a new way!
This version of Rent has a bigger ensemble than any other production so far. So up to now, we have been working very hard on the biggest numbers from the show - "La Vie Boheme,” "Rent,” "Tango: Maureen,” "Santa Fe," and "Contact.” We have the FEROCIOUS Sonya Tayeh as our fearless leader (choreographer), and we are building vocabulary that not only translates to television, but also continues to further the plot line and support the storyline/ characters that we already love. It's an incredible process to watch two great minds like Michael and Sonya come together to create something new and exciting.
Since the first live musical event happened, it seems our industry has worked hard to create a new form of art. A hybrid that is a balance of musical theatre, live television, and film. We take something that was written and designed for a proscenium, and we find new ways to tell the same story. We spend a lot of time in rehearsal trying to understand where the camera is and where our focus is. Therefore, it feels like we (as performers) are existing in the story and the audience is a fly on the wall observing the show unfold. But at the same time, some of the theatrical design remains intact and we just heighten it with the camera. It feels like the perfect show to be told in this setting, and it feels like FOX has put together a dream team to bring it to life. So I will forever be so thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of this adventure.
So all I can say is don't miss this one! Put in in your calendars now, it’s going to be something spectacular.