Friday, June 19, 2009


Wednesday night brought another performance of RENT to the Paramount. It's been just over 2 years ago since the last time it came to Seattle. [You can see my review of that performance here.] Making this the 5th performance of RENT I've seen, I will start by saying this is quite certainly the best performance I've ever seen overall.

This tour includes the two pioneers of the original Broadway cast, with Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal as Mark and Roger. I have very little to complain about here. These are the voices most people will recognize from the original cast album, and and the benchmark by which all other actors since have been compared. Of course, they probably have performed these parts more than any other actors, but they still put a bit of differences from what I've seen and heard in the past. The only part I slightly questioned was in Another Day, Roger (Adam Pascal) seemed to be channelling the lead singer from the B-52's with his recitative chanting. I was amused only because I've heard him so many times on the album I didn't quite expect it.

The vast majority of this touring cast had played these roles in some previous incarnation of the show, either on Broadway or a previous tour. One notable exception is the role of Mimi, played by some girl who was apparently a contestant on American Idol this season. All I can say about her performance is: overacted and underwhelming. Not only was I unimpressed, it really stuck out in such an outstanding cast top to bottom.

Overall, absolutely incredible. This didn't have an of the issues that plagued previous performances I've seen. It did clock in at about 2:30 + intermission, which flew by like it was maybe an hour.

Ratings (which should be no surprise):

Music: 5 stars - Brilliant music, and the band performed it fantastically.
Cast: 5 stars - Even Mimi can't bring this cast's rating down.
Technical: 4 stars - This isn't a theatrical spectacle. But outstanding as it was.
Overall: 5 stars - One of my must-see musicals, and a performance not to be missed.

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