While everyone at home watched a previously recorded dress rehearsal of Rent rather than Fox’s promised live performance, the cast of Rent continued to perform the show actually live. And it looked like lots of fun!
Brennin Hunt, who played Roger, broke his foot during Saturday’s dress rehearsal performance. FOX made the decision to swap most of the would’ve-been live production for that taped show, but the cast of Rent performed the show live anyhow — even though most of the set and much of the choreography was stripped down to accommodate Hunt’s wheelchair. Given the often underwhelming energy of the dress rehearsal production that did air on TV, it’s hard not to watch audience clips from the live, slightly improvised wheelchair-adapted version and feel like there must’ve been some way for FOX to go on with a live production. (Or, a lesson we hope all live TV musicals learn from now on: Cast understudies!)
From what we can see, Roger in a wheelchair could’ve made for a really impressive, moving show. Plus, maybe the camera would’ve been forced to stop moving for a few dang seconds.
Update: After Rent: Live finished airing, Fox started posting its own clips from what the network dubbed the “cast concert version.” There’s less dancing around in scaffolding and fewer costumes, but the actors do seem much more on their game.