Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rent Filmed Live on Broadway |
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Set in New York City's gritty East Village, the revolutionary rock opera RENT tells the story of a group of bohemians struggling to live and pay their rent. "Measuring their lives in love," these starving artists strive fo... more »
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FANTASTIC! Rent-heads or anyone passionate about this music
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 01/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you watch a live performance of a concert or musical and if that Blu-ray goes as far as it can to replicate that live experience, you know you're going to have a enjoyable time. "RENT: Filmed LIVE on Broadway" is a fantastic experience on Blu-ray from awesome picture quality, great sound utilization for those with a home theater and a disc loaded with featurettes with substance. A solid and fantastic release for those who are passionate for the seventh longest running musical ever.
"RENT" had been in development since 1988 and made a reality in 1994. But the musical wouldn't become a success until its Broadway debut in Jan. 1996. "RENT" is a reimagining of Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme" and its modern setting and enjoyable characters and addictive music has captured so many hearts with its twelve year run. It has won a Pulitzer Prize, four Tony Awards and credit has to go to the hardworking and passionate staff and its cast members who have put their heart and soul to "RENT", but this release is also a celebration of life and love, written by "RENT" creator Jonathan Larson.
From the actors getting on stage and everyone applauding to the ten minute intermission and then the final farewell in which the current cast and the original cast share the same stage and all sing "Seasons of Love", the final live performance was powerful and as for the Blu-ray, the additions of the bonus features will definitely attract the hardcore and even curious fans!
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The film is presented in 1080p high definition (1:78:1). The picture quality was amazing on Blu-ray. Picture quality was clear, colors were vibrant but most importantly, almost similar to any successful concert performance, what can make it or break a performance is how many camera angles are utilized, how they are edited and how well they cut from character to character. And the good news is that this musical was successful in accomplishing the job. Lighting was just right! Performances were fantastic and the ability to cover each performer interacting on stage knowing that a camera is probably in their way, everything went quite well. So, with the Blu-ray video transfer receiving high marks, how does the audio even compare?
As for the audio, audio is featured in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. And I have to let you know that if you own a home theater system with surround sound, how awesome the sound quality is. In fact, for those who want that theatre experience like if you were watching it live. The audio clearly features the dialogue and music from your front speakers. But your rear surround speakers feature the audience. I was blown away to hear the audience giggling, cheering and their overall excitement during the performance. Although it doesn't beat being there for an actual live show, at least there was great care in making sure the audio was great. So, it's like being in the front row and hearing the audience behind you. Well done!
This is probably what is going to win the RENT-heads and those who admire or are curious about "RENT" will truly enjoy. Lengthy special features targeted towards the fans of "RENT" and are featured in standard and hi-definition. The majority of them are in HD. Included are:
* The Wall - This featurette focuses on how the fans have left hand written messages on the walls of Nederlander Theatre. A good size featurette showcasing the various signatures written throughout the years and the goodbye messages from fans of the musical. Very touching!
* The Final Curtain -This featurette focuses on the original cast who were backstage and preparing to join the current cast for the final farewell and all of them united in their final goodbyes and singing "Seasons of Love" together. Very touching and emotional to watch.
* Home - This featurette was about how they chose the Nederland Theatre and how it was not quite hospitable and needed a lot of fixing up. But even today, the interesting things about the theatre that the cast and crew share their experiences. Answering questions of why the ceilings were not fully painted, the obstacles the crew had to face in getting it ready and much more. An informative but also fun featurette.
* The Final Lottery - Since moving to Nederland Theatre, there has been a lottery to RENT-heads who would camp outside in order to get the discounted $20 tickets for the show. Those who got tickets got to sit in the front two rows. This segment features the final lottery, hundreds of people in line hoping to get a ticket for the final day and how emotional the experience was for the fans who won tickets for the final day and also how emotional it was for the two men in charge of giving out the tickets for the lottery.
* Casting - A behind-the-scenes look at the casting for "RENT". Every person who auditioned have been kept in dozens upon dozens of binders. Each person who was cast had to be seen multiple times and you get quite a bit of insight on the casting and the experience of the current talent and how many times (and how many years) they auditioned to get a role in the musical.
* Rent: The Final Days on Broadway - This is the lengthiest featurette featuring a specialized casting for the final week of "RENT" bringing back some old cast members but finding the right cast for the final week and the final day. Bringing everyone together and an in-depth look at how emotional everyone was during the filming. A lot of interviews with cast and crew. Especially those remembering "RENT" creator Jonathan Larson and bringing back the Larson family one last time for them to meet and greet the crew, staff and talent. Touching and overall an awesome featurette! But to see how emotional distraught some of the hardcore fans were on the final day was incredibly touching. So many people touched by this musical and also the lives changed for the positive because of "RENT" was amazing.
* Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation PSA - This featurette is about the foundation for those in the performing arts who can win a grant (to be used for anything, groceries, rent, babysitting, etc.) to help out performing artists.
* National Marfan Foundation PSA - "RENT" creator Jonathan Larson died from an aortic aneurysm believed to have resulted from Marfan syndrome. And this informative PSA was letting people know about the genetic disorder and the National Marfan Foundation.
I was first introduced to "RENT" back in 2000. As most musicals, my first introduction is typically by the soundtracks first but I have dreamed of watching "RENT" in Broadway for many years and I ultimately thought that it was a musical I can just catch whenever and expected a long musical run. So, when I found out that the long running musical would no longer be live in Broadway as of Sept. 7, 2008, I was saddened and felt that I lost my opportunity.
But after watching "RENT: Filmed LIVE on Broadway", words can not describe how happy I was to hear about a Blu-ray release and how the live performance would be in High Definition.
The Blu-ray release was absolutely fantastic! This is probably the next best thing of catching a Broadway show without having been there because not only was the picture quality outstanding but the way the audio was created, the awesome energy from the audience is felt through your surround sound. The music just comes alive and everything was just done right when it comes to the video and audio presentation to DVD and Blu-ray translation from the final Broadway performance. Camera angle cuts, editing, lighting, audience participation and more. And if you thought the awesome performance of the musical was all your getting, "RENT" fans will not be disappointed because you get a good number of lengthy featurettes included on the special features section.
Although the Broadway performance of "RENT" is over, the long running musical is captured perfectly in "RENT: Filmed LIVE on Broadway" and is absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray! I wouldn't be surprise if this video became a cult-hit among the fans of the musical for many years to come. This release is not just a live performance, it's a celebration of life and a celebration of love.
If you are a fan of "RENT" or like myself, have always dreamed of watching "RENT" live, "RENT: Filmed LIVE on Broadway" is not only fantastic, it's highly recommended!"
M J Heilbron Jr. | Long Beach, CA United States | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most emotional and stirring Broadway experiences ever has been captured on film, and this is as good as it could possibly get.
It is said that nothing recreates the sheer visceral thrill of a Broadway show...or I should say, a GOOD Broadway show. That particular alchemy of of live performance, plot/story, music and an audience is essentially un-reproducible in any other media.
But MAN is this close!
I started by referring to "Rent" as a Broadway "experience" more than a show. That's because the show is better the more you know about it.
Beginning with the initial idea, the transposition of Puccini's "La Boheme", modernized to late 90's New York...is it too early to refer to that time period as "turn of the century?"...it was a musical that was strikingly contemporary and exceedingly specific. Since it was masterfully done, it has also proved to be timeless and universal. They don't hand out Pulitzers for nothing.
Knowing that the show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died of an undiagnosed thoracic aortic aneurysm the night before opening night previews, adds immeasurable subtext to a show about, among other things, living each day as if it were the last.
Knowing the special relationship between the show, its' production crew, its' fans and the city of New York heightens the drama and intensity of the show itself, and here, the final performance.
In other words, the story of "Rent" is as enthralling as the show itself. The documentary on the DVD of the FILM version of "Rent" does a terrific job of telling THAT story.
And speaking about that film version...(which is never referred to during any of the several excellent behind-the-scenes segments here)...many die-hard Rent-heads have been quite vocal about their disdain for the film; critics were not that impressed either. Personally, I feel they did about as good a job as could have been done, without simply filming the show itself. Plus I got to see most of the original cast members, something I'd never otherwise get a chance to see.
Like I said, nothing reproduces that sense of urgency and drama like live theater.
THIS is that "filmed show." They literally filmed a Broadway performance. What seemed a bit dull in the movie bursts with color and vibrancy here.
They cheat a bit; sometimes the cameras are right over the shoulders or in the faces of the cast members. That clearly didn't happen closing night. This is seamlessly edited together with previous performances using cameras on stage in the midst of the action. It is so well done that the close-ups add to the intensity. Seeing a cast member with a tear rolling down their cheek...something you couldn't see past the fourth row...just nails certain points in the show with that "real" drama you don't get from "film". It pulls you close.
Hearing the roar of the crowd, either to applaud each performance or in some cases, to applaud in anticipation of an upcoming appearance (which is, I have to say, really cool to hear...) adds to the immediacy of your viewing experience. Seeing little imperfections, a little stumble, a vocal wobble, does the same thing. (For all I know, they were intentional...how the heck do I know...) The feeling of "you are there" has never been done as well as it has been done here.
The show has become so personal to so many people, with so many fans seeing the original cast, the various Broadway iterations, the touring companies, the film, and now this, that they'll have their own favorite Mimi or Roger or Angel. This particular cast, I have to say, is pretty fine, top to bottom. Hardcore Rent-heads will find little to quibble about, and newbies won't be missing a thing. Yes, you might miss having Mimi a bit less polished (I always envisioned her character as a little "sloppy" or rough; here she sings perfectly)...and in my "Rent" world, Angel is usually more diminutive...more petite.
Did this affect my watching this Blu-Ray? Not even remotely.
In fact, I felt the same way I did when I saw the show for the first time, here in L.A. Then, I was so unexpectedly overwhelmed by the show, I was moved, as they say, to tears. Not the little, single drop that spills over your right eyelid either. Big messy sobs. From a 40-year-old heterosexual male. In public. Way embarrassing.
Here, "Rent" got to me again. This time, knowing all that I know about the show, that sense of love and loss was just that much more profound. The tears came back, a bit more reserved this time, but continued throughout the compelling "making-of" segments.
Technically, the disc is awesome. Awe-invoking. Awe-inspiring. Whatever. Awe. With the pristine vocals from and center, music presented on a huge soundstage and the raucous crowd swirling in your surrounds...I'm telling you, I was right there.
Even the intermission...ten minutes long...is presented in its' entirety. Seriously. A camera sits stationary, maybe center front balcony, while a clock ticks down on screen. You see production crew moving things around, the tops of the heads of the people in the first rows milling about...it's kinda funny actually. At one point, a stage hand walks across the stage and waves to the camera.
The video reproduction is impeccable. Only in the scenes where the lighting is necessarily super-low do you get any sort of image degradation...it's trivial. Otherwise, this looks so real. It's HD at it's finest. Again, "you are there." Only better.
If you've read this far, there are a few things for you that I haven't written about, that you need to find out about on your own.
1) You will go nuts during the encore...they do another song, with some friends showing up.
2) You need to see each and every featurette. Stuff they show and talk about in the first ones comes back in the later ones. Things you think you know, you don't. You'll be moved beyond belief.
3) If you've seen a lot of "Rent" shows, you will see old cast members in the audience, during the various featurettes. Check them out for that reason alone.
This is not a rental...you need to own "Rent." Go. Click. Now."
K. Butler | Stratford, CT | 01/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of this wonderful Tony award winning Broadway show, this Blu-ray is a "must have". Having seen Rent several times, I was expecting a top notch theatrical experience and that's exactly what this final performance, filmed live on Broadway at the Nederlander Theater, delivers. The picture and sound quality of this blu-ray disc are amazingly lifelike. With a decent home theater system, you almost feel like you're sitting in a prime Nederlander seat watching the final curtain call. Especially appealing are the disc's bonus features which include a retrospective documentary on the play and it's creator, Jonathan Larson, as well as interviews with current and past cast members, and more. I'm very pleased with this purchase and highly recommend it."
Doesn't fully capture the Broadway RENT experience, but it's
Brandon Cozart | Charlotte, NC USA | 03/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first read last year that RENT was closing on Broadway, I had to read those words several times over to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Over the last twelve years, the show has been a profound part of the lives of many people. This may seem strange, but, well, RENT is hardly an ordinary musical.
RENT, a modern update of Puccini's La Boheme, is the story of a group of friends living in the East Village of New York City in the mid-'90s. Over the course of two and a half hours, the audience gets a glimpse of this Bohemian lifestyle, an incredibly honest glimpse that is as far as can be from the Rodgers and Hammerstein type of Broadway storytelling. The cast struggles with the meanings of love, friendship, and life, as well as the pains of poverty, loss, addiction, and HIV/AIDS. It is an incredibly engaging story which takes the audience on a roller-coaster of emotions from the first number to the final curtain.
Because the show has affected so many over its twelve year run, those involved have graciously allowed the production of this filmed version to serve as a monument to the late Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer-winning masterpiece, as well as giving those who never got the opportunity to see the show on Broadway a chance to have that experience in some fashion. In the interest of self-disclosure, when I heard that this disc was going to be released, I was a bit skeptical. As is mentioned in the included special features, part of the magic of seeing a show on Broadway is being in that moment and atmosphere. I was unsure how that magic would translate from being in the theatre to watching the performance on a television screen.
I am happy to report, however, that my skepticism was unfounded. Though not as good as seeing RENT live, RENT: Filmed Live on Broadway is the next best thing (yes, even better than the 2005 theatrical version). The performance in this release is the result of a mix of footage from the last Broadway performance on September 7, 2008 and scenes filmed outside the environment of a ticketed performance. The editing is done really well and it is difficult to tell which scenes were filmed live or not, though there are some obvious points.
As with any Broadway show, the cast can make or break any given performance. This cast is one of the best that I have personally seen. Most are RENT veterans and are thus intimately familiar with the characters they play and the relationship dynamics. Standouts include Adam Kantor's portrayal of Mark Cohen and Justin Johnston's Angel (Johnston has continued this role in the Rent farewell tour currently touring the country).
The Blu-ray version contains a number of special features covering different aspects of the show's last week on Broadway. These include featurettes on the note-covered outside walls of the Nederlander Theatre, the Nederlander itself, casting the show over its twelve year run, choosing the final Broadway cast, members of the original cast who came back to see the last performance, and a featurette on the final $20 ticket lottery. Also included are two PSAs, one for the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, and the other for the National Marfan Foundation (Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that is the likely cause of the aortic aneurysm that ended Larson's life).
The film is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1:78:1. This film really shows off the capabilities of HD presentation. The colors are rich and vibrant, the black levels are realistically deep, and there were no noticeable film artifacts. Even small details, like the glitter shaken out of Mimi's hair during "Out Tonight," were picked up by the cameras used to capture the performance. The video quality is truly amazing.
The audio is also impressive, though not as impressive as the video. Recorded in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, the audio is able to pick up subtle nuances in the performance both on stage and in the audience. The music and speech come through the center and front channels, with the audience filling the two rear speakers in an attempt to recreate the performance hall feel. The disappointments come in the band not coming through as raw and powerful as they would in a live performance, most of the time sounding far off and muted. Despite this, the audio is still good enough to not take too much away from the overall presentation.
More than a Broadway show, RENT was an event, a happening that completely encapsulated the culture of Jonathan Larson and others struggling with life and loss in the Bohemian world of New York City. Though RENT has darkened its lights on Broadway, Larson's incredible genius has been preserved in this disc chronicling the last days of a show that has touched so many lives since its opening in 1996."