The whole campus is buzzing about the Department of Drama’s upcoming production of the late Jonathan Larson’s RENT, one of the most well known and loved Broadway musicals of our time. Particularly after The Daily’s feature article last week about RENT, everyone is fighting to see the sold-out production of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical that captures the heart and soul, grit and grime, and spirit of the late 80’s and early 90’s in New York City.
To prep you for the production, we’ve provided some of our favorite songs from the musical, though of course every song is a hit.
1. “Take Me or Leave Me”
This diva-off between Maureen and Joanne, the two women in a love-hate-love relationship, would probably be the number one choice if RENT were offered at karaoke bars. In this video from the RENT movie made in 2005, Idina Menzel (from the original Broadway cast) and Tracie Thoms go to town with the rocky duet.
2. “Today 4 U”
As anyone who knows RENT will tell you, Angel, played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia in the original Broadway cast as well as in the movie, is the heart of the show. Angel enters as herself in “Today 4 U,” singing and spinning to a hip-hop beat as she brings her new friends Christmas gifts that she earned on the street.
3. “Seasons of Love”
This is probably the most well known and most overplayed song from the “La Boheme” adaptation. Everyone and their mother has either performed or seen this song done by every choir of every level. If you don’t know this song, well, honey, you might want to give that ticket to a die-hard RENT-head, because you clearly aren’t one.
4. “La Vie Boheme”
This video is from the original Broadway cast’s production in 1996. Though the quality is at best low, this video shares something about the original cast that later casts lacked. Perhaps it was an attachment to the men and women who suffered from poverty, died of AIDS in the 80’s, and lost hope in the dream that is New York City. In “La Vie Boheme,” they try to escape the harsh reality they live in each day, performing their fantasies, and living out their dreams, if only for moments.
5. “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”
Angel, arguably the heroine of RENT, dies in the second act of the musical. The most heart-wrenching song of all comes from Angel’s lover, Collins, who sings “I’ll Cover You (Reprise),” a song that the couple sang as a testament to their love in the first act. The soulful, rich melody fills your heart with sadness and love simultaneously and flawlessly.
These 5 songs, though a subjective selection, are five of my personal favorites. They bring joy, tears, and the warmth of friendship and chosen families to my heart, as I hope the production of RENT this weekend and next weekend (February 14-16 & 20-22) will bring to yours. Standing room tickets will be available on the day of the show; be sure to get some!