In case you’re wondering what last night’s Rent studio audience was seeing when the rest of the country — or at least the 3.42 million viewers who made up the lowest viewership for one of these TV musical events — Fox and some of the folks who actually were there are providing a glimpse.
In fact, Fox already has a name for the performance that didn’t air: the “Cast Concert Rendition.” (Some tweeters are calling it “the wheelchair version,” as Brennin Hunt, who broke his foot during a dress rehearsal Saturday night, takes the stage in his wheelchair for Sunday’s unaired performance).
Hunt told Deadline’s sister site TV Line that the injury occurred late in the performance, with the second and final act heading to its close just after the song “What You Own.”
“So basically after ‘What You Own,’ when Jordan [Fisher] and I climb the ladder and rock out with the band at the very end, we have a commercial break right after that and before finale. He and I both have a quick change all the way across downstage and the studio. So we have to run the scaffolding, down two flights of stairs. And on that second flight of stairs, when I jumped off and was turning the corner, my right foot just rolled on top and the top bone of my arch snapped. I went straight down. It was pretty brutal. It was so loud, I could hear it, even with my in-ear monitors in. I felt like it broke, but I was trying to tell myself that it didn’t.”
While the TV audience saw a more or less complete and fully produced taped performance of the Saturday show, the studio audience assembled Sunday for what was meant to be the big event saw a slimmed-down concert-style version, an altogether looser and — if the few clips available so far are any indication — a really quite charming pull-it-together affair. With the cast gathered in chairs onstage as each performer does his or her musical number, Sunday’s Rent was, indeed, more concert than full-scale production. In fact, we see characters who shouldn’t be there; Valentina’s Angel makes an appearance at his own wake, for example.
“We came out for Act II and pretty much performed, in concert style, for that live audience, while the broadcast was going on in sync,” Hunt told TV Line. “But it wasn’t the [planned] staging. We would literally just move from one section to the next. We were just improvising. And it turned out to be such a beautiful evening. I’m so glad that they captured it, because there were so many beautiful moments from last night. I hope that they release all of that at some point. I had a fun point with ‘Another Day’ with Tinashe, wheeling around in a wheelchair. She’s pushing me around. And again, I can’t reiterate enough how it is the essence of love. What we had last night, that is the real-life Rent… I think they’ll release it at some point.”
Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the whole shebang hits social media, by Fox or whomever had a cell phone handy — meaning just about everyone. But in the meantime, here are the four concert performances Fox has released (so far), followed by some audience cell phone shots:
In this one, Brandon Victor Dixon steals the show all over again with “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”, and the performance does indeed seem more concert-like than the dress rehearsal tape that actually aired.
In this clip of “Over the Moon,” Vanessa Hudgens performs without (mostly) the over-the-top horned headdress (I’m still not crazy about the song).
And in this performance of “Out Tonight,” Tinashe, as Mimi, gives one guy in the audience a cell phone video he won’t soon forget. As she sings the show’s most rocking number, she high-fives the audience, grabs the dude’s phone and records herself as she struts the stage and howls that song’s unforgettable howl.
And here’s the official concert rendition of “Seasons of Love”:
Others in the audience wasted little time posting their videos, including this scene of Tinashe wheeling the broken-footed Hunt around the stage’s runways, to the enthusiastic delight of the crowd:
And even as those clips surface, cast and fans are applauding what’s out tonight – and calling for more. Kiersey Clemons, who played Joanne, tweeted:
Twitterers already were clamoring for more. This one sums it up nicely: