No day but today!

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment
As my last
There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today

This one’s for those of you who bought the two-disc Broadway recording moments after you first heard "Seasons of Love." Or saved the earnings from your part-time job to afford a ticket the first time Jonathan Larson’s brainchild came to a stage near you. Or watched the Internet trailers a zillion times.

This is the day you’ve been waiting for. There is no day but today.

Today is the day that Mark, Roger, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne and Benny finally appear on the big screen, officially etching their stories in time, and soon on DVD, for us to enjoy long after the Broadway lights at the Nederlander Theatre have been dimmed for the last time.

Today -- after years of close calls and ugly rumors that teeny boppers like Justin Timberlake or Christina Aguilera might dare assume the complex roles -- we finally get to see "the musical that defined a generation" on film, with all of its passion and energy filling our hearts again.

Yes, "Rent." The story of a diverse group of impassioned and defiant 20-somethings living against the backdrop of New York’s East Village, amid struggles with AIDS, love and defining themselves.

There’s Mark Cohen, the budding filmmaker, and his roommate Roger, an aspiring songwriter with AIDS. And that endearing "Light My Candle" moment where love flickers between Roger and Mimi, a rebel junkie who’s fighting her own demons.

There’s Maureen, Mark’s ex-girlfriend-turned-lesbian who hooks up with lawyer Joanne. And there’s computer whiz teacher Tom Collins and cross-dressing Angel who develop an unmatched love during a chance meeting.

And we all know the story of Larson, who died of an aortic aneurysm on the eve of the show’s first preview without ever seeing its smash success, the Pulitzer or Tony Awards it would win.
The musical portrays the cast over the course of a year, following their ups and downs. But like few musicals before it, "Rent" stars a cast trying to find their way and dealing with real problems our generation could relate to.

Sure, this musical is filled with deep, dark aspects, but ultimately it’s about acceptance and hope and living each day as though it might be your last. For us younger Gen Xers and older Gen Ys, "Rent" is the musical, with all of its ‘90s quirks that gripped us, much the same way "West Side Story" and "Hair" spoke to our parents in the 1960s.

"Rent" encompasses the pressing desire to leave a legacy. A new age carpe diem. The notion that with a good family of friends your hopes and dreams can be achieved.

For me, the musical also conjures memories of the Broadway soundtrack blaring through the sound system of my high school auditorium or backstage areas during dinner breaks or set construction for our latest theater production. And a couple years later, I actually saw "Rent" on Broadway, a night -- aside from graduations, my wedding date and probably someday the birth of children -- I consider one of the biggest thrills of my life.

Yeah, I’m a little skeptical of the movie version -- new arrangements of the music, the addition of spoken lines and the elimination of some signature songs, namely "Goodbye, Love." But I have little doubt the message that makes the "Rent" story so powerful will reverberate today, and again and again.

No day but today.

a La Vie Boheme finds a new life; 6 original cast members reunited in Rent

a Road full of obstacles made 'Rent' overdue

a The Broadway Hit Takes a Gamble by Bringing Its Cast, and Conventions, to Film

a 'Rent' jumps the divide from stage to film, still infused with the power of its creator's spirit

a Original "Rent" cast moves up to big screen

a Movie payday for Rent

a Timeless Themes Make 'Rent' A Treasure

a 'Rent' veterans turn musical into lively movie


Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. I get this big build up and then no review of the movie. What kind of blog of this.

Name Witheld by Matt Hanley

Anonymous said...

I MEAN what kind of stinky, no-good, worthless, Cubs-lovin' blog IS this?

Sorry, I'm not too good at typing.

The same anonymous poster