I first saw Rent in 1997, a year after it premiered to rave reviews on Broadway – and I was hooked. The songs from the original are Jonathon Larson’s masterpiece and based on Puccini’s La Boheme. They were so wonderful that I learned them all. (If asked, I could literally perform Rent as a one-woman show). Now Rent has gone Hollywood: it’s been made into a film to be released this Thanksgiving. And again, I am hooked. The new film brought much of the original cast back together, but added some new cast mates, including Rosario Dawson as Mimi. While I look forward to singing along in the movie theater, the new CD is a little unappealing. The revamped tracks are a little more polished and a little more kicked up. Call me a traditionalist, but I will always love the songs the way they were originally. Dawson’s Mimi doesn’t have the rawness of the original Mimi. There is one exception. “Seasons of Love,” Rent’s de-facto anthem is in the background of film’s trailer, and it is wonderful. Whereas the original was always too saccharin and sweet, the newer version has maturity. Or maybe I just haven’t heard it in a while.
Archived article by Logan Bromer
Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor