September of 2008 brought the end of the Broadway run of RENT and in February of this year, the last Broadway company finished its tour. Yet, we still have some great things to look forward to.
Neil Patrick Harris, who played Mark Cohen in the Los Angeles company of RENT in 1997 has signed on to direct the Bowl performances and the music will be directed by Tim Weil, musical director for RENT for its run of over 12 years on Broadway. The rest of the cast has yet to be announced, but it’s safe to say that the Bowl productions will attract some excellent talent.
I don’t yet know if the productions are going to include any use of the L.A. Philharmonic, which is common at the Bowl, but it does perk my curiosity a bit. I mean, RENT doesn’t really lend itself to complicated orchestration, but then again this is a very non-traditional venue and production for Broadway musicals and, well, who knows what they’re planning?
Honestly, I’m just writing this because I’m excited. When I began working at Guzman Law Group, my only task was to make legal sense of the entire body of work of Jonathan Larson – move rights here and there, assign copyright to this and that – normal lawyer stuff. It sounded like a simple task, and for the most part it was.
I had seen RENT twice. It moved me. That was about all I knew. I didn’t know that its creator, Jonathan Larson, had passed away only hours before the off-Broadway opening of RENT. I didn’t know that RENT had gone from off-Broadway to Broadway in three months. I didn’t know that RENT was in the top 10 longest running musicals in Broadway history. I didn’t know that, in 1996 (the year RENT opened), Jonathan was posthumously awarded 4 Tony awards (including Best Musical), the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 6 Drama Desk Awards (including Outstanding Musical) and a Grammy (among others).
There will be three shows at the Bowl – August 6-8 – and en total just over 51,000 people will have the opportunity to see the largest productions of RENT ever undertaken.
Hope to see you there.