Pantages Theatre -- Hollywood, CA
Friday, March 6, 2009
When I received an e-mail showing that Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, the original leads in RENT, would be coming to Los Angeles to perform the musical that put them on the map, I immediately called up Liz and somehow convinced her to go with me. OK, it didn't take THAT much convincing, once we realized that we could get some inexpensive seats.
We decided to have dinner beforehand, so we agreed to arrive early. I was early enough to line for lottery seats, so I signed up. (Front row seats are given out for $20.00 each in the lottery system. I don't know if that goes for every night of every show, but I do know that they did that for Wicked).
Unfortunately, I didn't win front row seats for us, but at least we still had tickets for the show! Liz found me and we took the Metro to Hollywood/Highland. We ate at Koji's, where we enjoyed our sushi rolls and other stuff. (Thanks to hubby Joe for treating us!) Liz then saw what she terms "The Mother Ship," and we both ended up walking out of Sephora with purchases. We returned to the Metro station, and waited for the train as we listened to a talented musician. If I had some change or single dollar bills, I would have given him some. We arrived at the Metro station across the street from the Pantages, and I complimented a woman's shoes as we all stood on the street corner. I couldn't help it. They were cute!
When Anthony Rapp (Mark) and Adam Pascal (Roger) took the stage, the theatre hushed. Once Mark started the narration, the audience cheered LOUDLY. Oh, this was going to be a fun night!
Liz and I had seen the special screening of RENT's closing night on Broadway. Some of the actors from that cast were also in this touring company. I recognized Justin Johnson, the actor who played Angel in the closing cast. Funny how I didn't need to see his face to recognize him: I saw his drummer moves and figured it out that way. Yeah, that's the drummer-lover in me.
I enjoyed listening to the gentleman behind me after each song, because he had apparently never seen the show before, and was amazed by each number. At intermission, I overheard him say, "A lot of people here have seen this show! They all start clapping right when the songs start." I smiled. Yeah, we've seen it before, and having Rapp and Pascal here makes this particular tour extra-special. Here were the voices that I'd been hearing every time I play the CD set. Here were the voice inflections that I would mimic every time I speak or sing along. OMG, it was AWESOME.
The entire cast was fantastic, the audience "mooed" where they were supposed to, and the show was as amazing to me as it was the first time I saw it at the Ahmanson. Maureen was outrageous: Nicollete Hart did a great job during "Over the Moon," although I really didn't NEED to see her jeans fallling down half the time in the "La Vie Boheme" segment. Lexi Lawson was great as Mimi: great voice, great dancing. The aforementioned Justin Johnston was fabulous as Angel, and I'm glad that I can watch his performance again whenever I can on the DVD. I really liked Haneefah Wood as Joanne. Her "Tango: Maureen" with Anthony Rapp was wonderfully hilarious and well done. I also really liked Telly Leung's voice. He played "man with squeegee," and I really loved the way that he started the song "Will I?" before the rest of the company joined in. Gwen Stewart, who played "woman with bags" was from the original cast, and now that I know that, I realize that her voice WAS familiar. ;) Adam and Anthony? Well, DUH! They were awesome. I loved them. The commanded the stage, which is not easy considering that this cast was already comprised of great talent. I love the passion that they and the rest of the cast bring to their performances. Even 13 years after the show opened on Broadway, these two guys bring forth everything that I imagine Jonathan Larson hoped that this show would be. I wish (along with many in the theater community) wish that he could have seen what a following this show has created.
Liz and I had a great time. We each bought the DVD from the closing night screening. I don't know when I'll be able to watch that, but I do know that at this moment, I don't ever really want to see it live again. Because, really. What could possibly top this? The entire original cast? Hmmm...okay! Sign me up!
RENT: The Broadway Tour is scheduled for a nationwide tour through September 2, 2009. If you're a RENT fan, this is not to be missed.