Hitting the Broadway stage in 1996, "Rent" the musical addressed prominent issues relevant to the time period it was created in. Riddled with characters battling AIDS while living their lives full of optimism and grace, "Rent" provided viewers with a real-life look into the seriousness of such a disease and how any person– from all walks of life- can be affected by its touch of death.
While somewhat staying true to the impactful messages portrayed in the original musical, "Rent: Live" missed the mark on one very important element–character design. A vital element that added to the immense depth of the storyline is the deep connection and love viewers develop for the characters in the play. From Angel with her ever-changing fashion and deep love connection for Collins to Joanne and her polar opposite style yet deep-rooted love for Maureen, the original design for the characters in "Rent" was completely altered in Fox's remake of this cult classic.
"Rent: Live" – produced by Fox and premiered on the 27th – poorly represented the characters through their attempt to reinvent each characters original aesthetic. A perfect example of this failed reinvention is shown through central character Joanne– who is known for sporting a suit in almost every scene of the original play. As a practicing lawyer, it makes sense for her character to wear such clothing. Her style not only portrayed her work background but also plays into an interesting dynamic between her and Maureen.
In the remake, Joanne sports crop tops and clothing that completely skews the viewers' perception of her character and the original depiction that was meant for her storyline. Now that Joanne so closely resembled the style that was originally unique to Maureen, the original dynamic and developed intrigue for their relationship is faltered greatly and led to my loss of interest in their relationships storyline as a whole. Not to mention, JOANNE DIDN'T HIT THE HIGH-NOTE IN SEASONS OF LOVE.
More heartbreaking than the failed portrayal of Joanne and Maureen's relationship was the lack of passion shown through central character Angel in this seemingly rushed remake. In the original "Rent", Angel provided a look into more than just the disease she battled. Her soul, her grace, her passion, her love for Collins–were all enriched by the beauty of the loving and genuine life she led, still managing to support the friends that tried to match even a third of the love she showed them. Angel in "Rent: Live" provided no depth for me as a viewer. The character had a total of three outfit changes, lacked vocal prowess, and most importantly, didn't showcase the same passion and realness the original actor cast for Angel did. By missing the mark on such a vital character, "Rent: Live" not only damaged the storyline but also faltered the richness of the important message about recognizing the danger of AIDS and all the people it has affected and continues to affect.
By altering the representation of each character in the play, Fox not only did the musical an overall injustice and provided a poor representation of a cult classic, but also completely skewed the depth and realness the messages in the storyline portrayed.
"Rent: Live"- you let me down.