Monday, September 08, 2008

Rent the Musical Closes

Change is our only constant, which made yesterday a constant doozy.

Astroland, the last great grotty amusement park in Coney Island closed yesterday by a big developer (aptly named THOR!) who bought the property. It had been open nearly 50 years, since 1962.

And in more real estate related irony, yesterday in Manhattan, the lease was up on RENT.

The bohemian AIDS musical that swept Broadway by storm, closed yesterday after 12 years.

A revival of Guys & Dolls is moving in, which makes me roll my eyes. Nicely nicely? Yaaawn. Who wants to watch that? Then again, I had the same reaction when I heard South Pacific was coming back...and it won the Tony.

I wouldn't say I'm a Renthead, but I do live in Alphabet City (not their Alphabet City, granted) and have seen the show about 10 times. I even saw some of the movie version being filmed around here one winter. So of course I had to go again last week and pay my respects to Angel and the others, and to sing in my head as I watched and cried and moo-ed with Maureen for one final time.

The Nederlander Theatre, as it appeared on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

It's funny what you notice when you know it's the end.

The actors are different, but the songs and staging are the same as the first time. And the costumes, like Angel's hideous santa/zebra combo, still the same.

The show, I noticed, is just that much more dated than the last time I saw it. It is a period piece. There are no more AZT breaks, no tent city, no home phone answering machines. And although the set, with its mock "toy tower" remains the same, the original toy tower was (symbolically?) taken down by the city just a couple months before today, when its theatrical likeness is being removed from the Nederlander Theatre.

But we still have life, and Life Cafe! And what never has to change; what we can always take with us is the spirit of Rent. We can measure life in love. Friendship is family.

There is no day but today.


Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

Friendship is family - and I'm betting your family is pretty large. Count me in.

Jesse Archer said...

awww (blush). Thanks!

Mark in DE said...

Its true, the only constant in Life is change. Sometimes it makes us sad, and sometimes it leads to future happiness not yet dreampt of, but it always keeps Life exciting.

Mark :-)

Anderson said...

Awww I would have been so sad! Love that show, saw it my 9th & 10th times last time I was in town, and the tour comes here in March...too sad :(