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RENT on Broadway

by Stephanie Casher on June 14, 2007

So like I’ve been saying, of all the things I looked forward to doing in New York, seeing my all-time favorite play/movie, RENT, on Broadway, was at the top of the list… In the simplest terms, I love RENT. I can watch the movie or listen to the CDs over and over and over and never get sick of it. But while I consider myself a huge RENThead, in the eleven years that RENT has been touring and on Broadway, I have never seen the show live. I had hoped to catch the show when it came through San Francisco last summer, but missed it cause I was driving across the country the week they were here. I was determined to rectify this situation while I was in New York.

Initially, James was supposed to fly home a day before me, so I had designated my last day in New York as “RENT Day.” I booked a room at the hotel next door to where RENT is playing (Hotel 41 in Times Square), with the intention of trying my luck in the RENT lottery and catching the 2pm AND 7:30pm shows.

The RENT lottery is the most awesome thing… For every show, 2 hours before showtime they lottery off tickets in the first two rows for $20. You just show up, write your name on a card, and cross your fingers. Well, luck was on my side that day cause I ended up winning the RENT lottery and securing a $20 seat for the 7pm show!!! Score!

I was already giddy and beyond excited that I’d gotten in, but you won’t even believe how awesome it was to make my way to my seat and find I’d been assigned a spot in the FRONT ROW!!! I cannot even believe my luck at this point – being that close to the stage, where I could make genuine eye contact with the actors, it’s such an intense experience. Everything was working out even better than I’d imagined it. :-)

The show started and it was amazing. Tim Howar was fabulous as Roger (and I got to tell him as much in the hotel bar after the show, lol), and I was completely floored when I flipped through the program and discovered that the role of Mimi was being played by none other than American Idol’s Tamyra Gray. And she was sooooooo good! Overall, the show far exceeded my expectations and I had the most fun getting lost in the music for a couple of hours.

After the show, I spent some time in the hotel bar, and ended up hanging out with David Santana (one of the stage managers), Tim Howar (who played Roger), Crystal Hall (who played Joanne), and Moeisha McGill (ensemble/Joanne’s understudy). They were all totally nice, down-to-earth, wonderful people, and when they found out I was a writer, we had a lovely artist bonding moment smoking on the sidewalk out in the rain… Sometimes you just end up in the right place at the right time…

Of course all this RENT-related serendipity managed to do was add more fuel to my already out-of-control RENT obsession, lol, but I’m not complaining. I can’t wait to go back and see it again, hopefully in August-September when Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal will be reprising their roles as Mark and Roger. All in all, the perfect cherry on top of an awesome New York vacation!

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