Though a dress rehearsal injury threw Rent a technical conundrum, Fox pushed forward with its televised presentation of the musical January 27.
Rather than broadcast live from Los Angeles throughout, the network instead aired footage from the January 26 rehearsal—taped with an invited audience—for the majority of the presentation, switching to the live feed of the Jonathan Larson musical in the final 15 minutes.
The last-minute call was made due to an injury sustained by Brennin Hunt, who played Roger in the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize–winning musical. Hunt broke his ankle shortly before the final scene of the January 26 run. During the live portion January 27, he remained seated on a table, sporting a taped foot and keeping his leg elevated on a chair.
In addition to Hunt, the cast included Jordan Fisher as Mark, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen, Tinashe as Mimi, Valentina as Angel, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne, and Mario as Benny.
Read what critics thought of the broadcast, directed by Michael Greif (who also helmed the original Broadway production) and live TV director Alex Rudzinski, below.
The producing team included Marc Platt and Julia and Al Larson, sister and father to the late Jonathan. Bernard Telsey, who cast the original production, also returned to assemble the company for the new small-screen adaptation. Sonya Tayeh (Broadway’s upcoming Moulin Rouge!) served as choreographer.
Members of the original cast—including Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Taye Diggs, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Fredi Walker, and Jesse L. Martin—also made a special appearance at the end of the broadcast to perform an encore of the late Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love.”
Rounding out the ensemble were Keala Settle, Matthew Saldivar, J. Elaine Marcos, Alton Fitzgerald White, Bryce Ryness, Emerson Collins, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Debra Cardona, Darius Crenshaw, Khori Petinaud, Mia DeWeese, Benjamin Rivera, Robert Roldan, Morgan Marcell, Fred Odgaard, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Hannahlei Cabanilla, Jessica Lee Keller, Lenin Fernandez Jr., Nick Lanzisera, Sasha Dominique Mallory, and Ty Wells.