Notes and Editorial Reviews
Music and lyrics written by Jonathan Larson.
Principal cast: Adam Pascal (Roger Davis); Anthony Rapp (Mark Cohen); Jesse L. Martin (Tom Collins); Taye Diggs (Benjamin Coffin III); Fredi Walker (Joanne Jefferson); Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel Schunard); Daphne Rubin-Vega (Mimi Marquez); Idina Menzel (Maureen Johnson); Kristen Lee Kelly, Byron Utley, Gwen Stewart, Timothy Britten Parker, Gilles Chiasson, Rodney Hicks, Aiko Nakasone.
Additional personnel: Stevie Wonder.
Recorded at Sorcerer Sound and Right Track Recording, New York, New York. Includes a 36-page booklet with a plot synopsis and complete lyrics.
RENT was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
This 43-track set includes in its entirety the
unlikely opera about AIDS, drugs, squatters, down-and-out artists and (of course) love that won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for drama and went on to knock Broadway off its feet at a time when the Broadway musical was widely assumed to be dead. Like the climactic love song that seems to magically rescue one of the main characters from near-death, RENT itself may well be responsible for bringing Broadway back to life.
RENT was written and composed by Jonathan Larson, who died suddenly hours after the final dress rehearsal. Larson's music is almost seamless in the way it quilts together show-tune tradition with current pop styles, reflecting the story's blend of a classical plot (it's loosely based on Puccini's opera "La Boheme") with a thoroughly modern setting. A tango, in which a man and woman compare notes on a lover they have shared, fits comfortably between an electronic dance tune with rapped vocals ("Today 4 U," sung by the play's drag-queen hero) and a rocking entreaty to come "Out Tonight." The latter is sung by Daphne Rubin-Vega, whose coquettish pop voice and sensual presence help her stand out from a great ensemble cast.
The play's unexpectedly optimistic message is spelled out in a breathtaking pop song called "Seasons Of Love," which leads off the second act. As a bonus, Stevie Wonder joins the cast for a reprise that puts a soaring coda of hope on this dark opera. Read less
Works on This Recording
Rent by Jonathan Larson
Taye Diggs (Voice),
Gwen Stewart (Voice),
Jesse L. Martin (Voice),
Anthony Rapp (Voice),
Adam Pascal (Voice),
Idina Menzel (Voice),
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Voice),
Daphne Rubin-Vega (Voice),
Fredi Walker (Voice)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1996; United States
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