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Rent [Original Broadway Cast Recording]
     

Rent [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

by Original Broadway Cast
 
Sprawling and impassioned, messy and often overreaching, Rent remains the most significant Broadway musical of the late '90s. Using characters derived from Puccini's opera "La Bohème," composer Jonathan Larson weaves an arresting tale of a year in the life of a motley group of disenfranchised East Villagers coping with adult responsibility, poverty, AIDS

Overview

Sprawling and impassioned, messy and often overreaching, Rent remains the most significant Broadway musical of the late '90s. Using characters derived from Puccini's opera "La Bohème," composer Jonathan Larson weaves an arresting tale of a year in the life of a motley group of disenfranchised East Villagers coping with adult responsibility, poverty, AIDS, drug addiction, and other malevolent forces that continually surround them. This 1996 double disc, produced by veteran hitmaker Arif Mardin, features the marvelous original cast, including Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adam Pascal, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and Idina Menzel. Rent contains an abundance of heartfelt, gorgeous songs, particularly "I'll Cover You," "Sante Fe," "Light My Candle," "Over the Moon," the searing "One Song Glory," and Rubin-Vega's fabulous "Out Tonight," as well as the show's theme of warmth and wonder, "Seasons of Love," also included as a bonus track performed by Stevie Wonder.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Songwriter/librettist Jonathan Larson's musical Rent caused a considerable stir in the spring of 1996 -- a stir that included multiple Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and an open-ended run on Broadway -- because it succeeded in synthesizing a range of popular music styles while telling a story full of contemporary concerns including AIDS, drug abuse, homosexuality, and gentrification in witty, moving language. At the same time, it boasted traditional roots in the sense that it was based (very loosely) on the same source as Puccini's hundred-year-old opera La Bohème, Henri Murger's Scenes de la Vie de Bohème. In Larson's retelling, the story concerned a group of young people on the Lower East Side of Manhattan near the end of the 20th century, trying to make it as rock musicians, filmmakers, and performance artists while avoiding being evicted from the apartments in which they were squatting without paying rent (and while also not selling out). Larson, born in 1960, clearly had ingested the whole of post-Beatles pop
ock music along with an array of other musical styles including everything from traditional pop to hip-hop, and he mixed things up freely while holding the score together with some soaring melodies. The scourge of AIDS, and thus death among the young, hung over the show, which made Larson's own death (from an undetected aneurysm) on the night of the show's final dress rehearsal all the more poignant. For audiences, the carpe diem theme expressed in choruses like "no day but today" was inescapably linked to the tragic backstage story. But Rent still would have been a massive hit if Larson had lived; the only difference would have been that he might have had the opportunity to write more shows. DreamWorks eschewed the usual Broadway practice of hauling the cast into a recording studio on the Sunday after the opening to record a cast album quickly. Instead, the label hired veteran producer Arif Mardin and prepared a thorough two-CD set that brought out the best in the score. Principals Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Idina Menzel all got the chance to immortalize their performances and made the most of it, and the extra length allowed for a full sense of the show's sweep on-stage. It was a sensible approach given that much of Rent was sung, right down to the answering machine messages, and that the songs were interwoven into suites, with musical themes returning frequently. The cast album did not appear until four months after the show opened on Broadway, but when it did, it proved worth the wait. (Concluding the album by having Stevie Wonder sing a version of the show's best-known song, "Seasons of Love," was not a wise decision, however.)

Product Details

Release Date:
08/27/1996
Label:
Dreamworks
UPC:
0600445000322
catalogNumber:
50003
Rank:
3866

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Original Cast Recording   Primary Artist
Gilles Chiasson   Vocals
Anthony Jackson   Guitar,Contrabass Guitar
Jeffrey Potter   Percussion,Drums
Daphne Rubin-Vega   Vocals
Ira Siegel   Electric Guitar
Steve Skinner   Synthesizer,Keyboards
Gwen Stewart   Vocals
Byron Utley   Vocals
Stevie Wonder   Vocals,Track Performer
Tim Weil   Synthesizer,Piano,Conductor,Egg Shaker
Dominic Derasse   Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet
Daniel A. Weiss   Synthesizer,Guitar,Hammond Organ
Taye Diggs   Vocals
Wilson Jermaine Heredia   Vocals
Anthony Rapp   Vocals
Idina Menzel   Vocals
Jesse L. Martin   Vocals
Aiko Nakasone   Vocals
Adam Pascal   Vocals
Kenny Brescia   Guitar
Rodney Hicks   Vocals
Kristen Lee Kelly   Vocals
Timothy Britten Parker   Vocals
Jeff Potter   Percussion,Drums
Dominique Derasse   Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet
Fredi Walker   Vocals
Steve Mack   Bass

Technical Credits

Bonzai Jim Caruso   Engineer
Anthony Jackson   Contributor
Arif Mardin   Arranger,Producer
George Marino   Contributor
Michael O'Reilly   Engineer
Steve Skinner   Arranger,Producer,drum programming
Stevie Wonder   Contributor
Jim Caruso   Engineer
Andy Grassi   Engineer
Robin Sloane   Director
Tim Weil   Arranger,Director,Contributor,Musical Director
Jason Goldstein   Engineer
Kurt Fischer   Sound Effects,Special Effects,Sound Design
Michael Greif   Director
Michael Grief   Director
Billy Aronson   Lyricist,Original Concept
Jonathan Larson   Composer,Lyricist
Bonzai "Jim" Caruso   Engineer

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