The Best Moments of ‘Rent Live!’

Pamela Littky/FOXBrandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Valentina as Angel Dumont Schunard, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, Mario as Benjamin Coffin III, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis and Tinashe as Mimi Marquez in RENT on Fox. 

Fox’s live production of Jonathan Larson’s Tony-winning musical Rentwasn’t without its issues on Sunday night (Jan. 27), starting with the fact that only the last 15 minutes of the show were actually live. Brennin Hunt, who starred as struggling musician Roger, broke his foot during Saturday’s dress rehearsal and was no longer able to walk about the massive, multi-level set.

Since that performance had been recorded in front of a live audience and there was no understudy, the show went on with that footage instead. Yes, it took some of the excitement out of the evening, but the live final act — which included a curtain call of the original Broadway cast reuniting to form a straight line once again to sing “Seasons of Love” alone before being joined by their Fox counterparts — gave fans the chills they tuned in for. Our picks for the other standout moments:

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Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Valentina as Angel Dumont Schunard, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, Mario as Benjamin Coffin III, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis and Tinashe as Mimi Marquez in <em>RENT </em>on Fox. “/></figure>



<h2>How ‘Rent’ Is Handling Its Star’s Broken Foot</h2>



<p><strong>• Angel’s entrance for “Today 4 U”:</strong> At-home viewers weren’t exactly thrilled with the enthusiastic studio audience’s screams throughout the show, but everyone can agree that the first sight of drag queen Angel in her full red-coat glory was worthy of cheers. As Angel, <em>RuPaul’s Drag Race</em> star Valentina looked and danced the part of the East Village’s most vibrant personality (and her vocals were solid, save for a few high notes in this and the duet “I’ll Cover You”).</p>



<p>The chemistry between Valentina and Brandon Victor Dixon, who starred as Angel’s love and heart of the show, Tom, was sweet and immediate, as it should be. Which only made what was to come all the more painful… starting with Tom picking up and carrying Angel, one of the show’s four HIV-positive characters, from her hospital bed and moving her into a larger one so they could lie side-by-side during “Without You.”</p>



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• Tom’s “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”: The most haunting image of the show was Angel lying alone, hearing her heartbeat and watching her shake before the ominous death dance “Contact” kicked in. 

Then, you were waiting for Dixon to show us the emotion and pipes that earned him an Emmy nomination for playing Judas in Fox’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert at Angel’s funeral, and he delivered (with the help of The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle, who also joined the cast as the leader of an HIV support group to sing “Seasons of Love” and nearly stole the show).

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Mario as Benjamin Coffin III, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins and Valentina as Angel Dumont Schunard in <em>RENT</em> airing Jan. 27, 2019.”/></figure>



<h2>‘Rent’ Live Will Go On — With Taped Segments — After Star’s Injury</h2>



<p><strong>• <a href=Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen: Performance artist Maureen’s “Over the Moon” is the most grating number in the show, on purpose, and we’d be totally rolling our eyes if Hudgens, like the great Idina Menzel before her, hadn’t committed 100 percent — which is the key to turning something that awesomely bad into something that brilliant. The Grease: Live! vet sounded even more amazing here, but still, we’re just gonna include this gif.

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Drop a in the replies to moo with Maureen. #RENT8009:35 PM – Jan 27, 2019287 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

What we would willingly listen to again is the number “Take Me or Leave Me,” which both she and Kiersey Clemons, as Maureen’s on-again-off-again levelheaded lover Joanneboth slayed. 

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They. Did. THAT. #RENT3,21410:23 PM – Jan 27, 20191,047 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

• Any set that wasn’t Roger and aspiring filmmaker/narrator Mark (Jordan Fisher)’s apartment: At least for those of us whose Fox channel inexplicably froze for the first six or seven minutes of the show, “Will I?” was the first song to reveal the full extent of the impressive production design. The camera roamed the various sets while ensemble members asked whether they’d lose their dignity during their battles with HIV and homelessness. Would they wake from this nightmare? The few seconds of silence before the fade to commercial respected the weight of the question. 

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Chills, every time. #RENT1,0129:14 PM – Jan 27, 2019315 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

They really should just hand the production design team their Emmy now. It went well beyond the sturdy scaffolding of Mimi’s “Out Tonight.”

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What’s the time? Time to take Mimi out tonight! #RENT80211:43 PM – Jan 27, 2019261 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

During “Christmas Bells,” the falling snow and buildings strung with large, gorgeous lights captured the magic of New York City at night in December — when you can forget that you know what grime lies underneath in the darkness. And, of course, “La Vie Boheme,” one of the show’s most iconic numbers, had the requisite colorful lights dangling from the restaurant’s ceiling. Not only did the floor spin, but we also got excellent shots looking down on the ensemble from above. 

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To anyone out of the mainstream! Is anyone IN the mainstream? #RENT59912:37 AM – Jan 28, 2019166 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

The cast of 'Rent' performs on <em>The Tonight Show with Jay Leno</em> on Nov. 11, 1996. “/></figure>



<h4>READ MORE</h4>



<h2>Members of ‘Rent’ Original Cast Will Make Cameos During ‘Rent Live!’</h2>



<p><strong>•  “Your Eyes”: </strong>Hunt deserves a special round of applause for sitting on that stage live, with his foot in a cast and propped up on chair, and belting out this song to Mimi on what he thinks is her deathbed (or, rather, death table). Aside from that awkward moment when Roger yelled “No!” upon seeing what condition she was in but couldn’t get up and run to her — and despite that angle that kept showing us his cast — Hunt kept us in the moment. And his voice was powerful (one advantage to not having to sing the entire show before it). </p>



<p>But did anyone else wish they’d gotten him into a wheelchair so he and the original Roger, Adam Pascal, could have joined the rest of the cast upfront for the “Seasons of Love” curtain call? </p>
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				<em class= January 28, 2019