By Official RENT Blog contributor Brandon Nichols
RENT asked Brandon: In your Q&A you mentioned that you have seen the movie versions of RENT over 40 times, you've also been in the production, and have seen the stage show. How has the show continued to speak to you after seeing it so many times? Also, with all the advances in Gay Rights and AIDS research, what makes RENT relevant today and not just a period piece?
Let me begin by saying, yes, I have seen the movie over 40 times. I watch it again and again because it never seems to get old. You’d think after so many times a story such as RENT may get boring because you know what to expect. However, for me, neither the storyline nor the music seem to grow old. The story of RENT is a story that most people in today’s society are far too afraid to speak about. The music speaks to every generation regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, etc. There’s something for everyone to relate to in RENT.
For me, RENT continues to speak to me because I see a lot of myself in some of the characters and what they do is what I do. Take Maureen for example, my favorite character. She is a performer, I’m a performer, one reason I relate. She is a “I’ll tell it like it is” kinda girl. I’m a “tell it like it is” kinda guy. You take every character and there’s always something about that character that you can see yourself in. Each characteristic of those characters becomes one person…being me or you. I think that’s why I can relate to the storyline so much. It’s who we are as artist and who we are as friends.
Most people would think of RENT as a period piece, when in reality, it’s anything but. RENT’s music changed the way Broadway saw music. It brought a new form of “beat” to the stage. I think the reason why it’s just as powerful now is because the world around us is changing and the music, since it itself was a massive turning point for the musical theatre world, continues to change with the times, but still remains the same. Does that make sense? The story will never grow old because it’s going to always be a problem and there will always be someone who knows someone suffering with AIDS. The music touches everyone, not just one group of people, hence why it doesn’t really come across as a period piece.
RENT has changed many lives over the years and it’s back to change many more. It’s here for its message to be seen and heard. RENT is love, friendship and peace.
RENT fans, let's continue the conversation: What makes RENT relevant to you? Which characters do you identify with and see in yourself? Tell us about them in the comments below or on RENT's Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more about the current Off-Broadway production of RENT at www.siteforrent.com.