Anthony Rapp's last performance in Rent

I just got home from Sacramento, where I went to see the FINAL show in the FINAL CITY of the Rent Broadway tour, which is the FINAL time Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal will ever be in the show.

The crowd was electric, filled with many former cast members, and people who flew from all corners of the globe to be there.

When Adam Pascal walked out with his guitar, the crowd erupted. It seemed like it couldn't get much louder. Then Anthony walked out, and I realized I was wrong. The crowd was on its feet before they could even hit their marks, and they stopped and gave the crowd the time to calm down.

Anthony didn't start in with his normal opening line and instead said that this show, like every show, is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Larson. Then it began.

I've seen the show many, MANY times before, but there was a certain magic in the air tonight. The crowd was wired, the cast was wired, and only the brilliance of the show pulled everyone back into their respective roles.

There were playful improvisational moments, wild crowd reactions, but the thing that sticks with me is how every cast member seemed to take time with every other cast member to share a moment, and just lock eyes or perform some piece of business onstage -- a touch, a twirl -- anything to connect deeply in this brief moment in time.

Of course, in a show about the importance of friendship, community, and love, when the cast is connecting on such a level, it only deepens the experience for everyone involved.

Despite the thunderous reactions and the electric cast, the show was pretty much... the show. No one went wildly off script or anything, but many people seemed to bring that extra gravity to the role, knowing they may never play this role onstage ever again.

After the show, Anthony spoke to the crowd about how he and Adam have thought for many times their time with RENT was over. Since I thought he might, and since I thought I might write this up, I recorded his speech so I could get the words as exact as possible.

Here's what he said:

"Back in December 1995, when Adam and I gathered together with the rest of the original cast, and we got together to sing 'Seasons of Love,' and learn the rest of this incredible show, not knowing at all how profoundly and forever it would change our lives, and the lives of so many. And we certainly didn't know we would go on to do it for a couple years on Broadway, of all places. We started in a little 150-seat theater, remember, and we were just going to do it for 4 weeks, 6 weeks, or something like that, and that was it... so we come back and Adam and I got to go to London for six months, and then we got to do the movie, and then we got to come back to Broadway in 2007, and we've had so many goodbyes... but this really is it."

He went on to thank the amazing cast and crew (breaking down every department by name, right down to the truck drivers), who all came onstage.

"We have to thank other people who are here tonight, especially our fans," Anthony said. "You may not be aware of this, but we played in Tokyo last summer for four weeks, and we were welcomed with the most open arms and many of our fans from Japan have traveled to Sacramento to be with us."

He then shifted over to other people in the audience.

"There are a couple of people here tonight who were tossed into the most unbelievable situation 14 years ago," Anthony said, "when they received a phone call in the middle of the night that let them know their most beloved son and brother had died so suddenly. They were thrust into this situation and have gone on to embrace it over the years with the fullest hearts, the most generosity, and let us into their lives and supported the work their son worked so hard to accomplish. I want to thank the Larsons..."

Rapp also thanked the design team and the show's director Michael Grief, who was not in attendance. He even thanked the show's producers, saying "Believe it or not, I know it's easy to think this show was this slam-dunk because of how long it ran and everything like that, but I promise you there were people in '96 who told them it would never work, that they were stupid for doing it. I promise you. I'm not lying."

At this point, Anthony looked over at Adam and tossed in, "They also wanted to replace Adam after the open dress rehearsal... so they got some things right, some things wrong," which drew laughter from the crowd.

"But to have the insight, the courage to take the risk, and it was a risk at the time, even though it worked out, we'd like to thank our producers for having the courage to say yes when people were telling them to say no.

"And, most importantly, we have to thank the man who poured, into his words and music, truth and beauty, who gave everything that he was, all of his courage, all of his passion, all of his heart, into telling this story that has changed so many lives around the world.

"So, I want to say the final words that I'm sure everyone in this room would like to say: Thank You, Jonathan Larson!

With that, the band started playing and the entire cast and crew sang one final encore of "Seasons of Love":

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure- measure a year.

Here's a video someone posted on YouTube of Anthony's speech (This is NOT my video):

Comments

Fiona Rosge's picture

thanks

My friend went to that show, but I had no idea that it would be the last showing ever, she didn't describe much besides that it was awsome and that Tango Maureen was fantastic, I feel kind of sad now, knowing that was the last production ever, but I have the movie and I love it all the same and I can relive that as many times as I want, but thank you for showing this to me Jeff, I felt like I got a more deeper meaning into RENT.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Come Josephine in my flying machine
Going up she goes up she goes
Balance yourself like a bird on a beam
In the air she goes there she goes
Up, up, a little bit higher
Oh, my, the moon is on fire
Good-by

jeff's picture

Well...

It's the last major tour for a while, I'd imagine, but there are always revivals.

With the show being no longer on Broadway, though, anyone can put up a production of RENT. There's one in San Francisco all this month with local actors, etc.

If you could have gone, and love Rent, yeah, you should've been there. ;-)

---
"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

shina's picture

Thank you T_T

One of my friends drag me on that show because she had no one else to go with...
In the start I thought the show will be lame ;) but in the end Elza (my friend name ) was the one who forced me to leave right after the end :( Thank you for that video, cos now I can show it to her, and use as a proof to demand a reimbursements for at least 8 minutes and 3 seconds of great speech and performance which I missed because of her ;)

This is my own custom paper, keep your hands away !!!

renthead5i0's picture

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i got to see them at the fox theater last summer. I LOVE RENT PASSIONATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

can i get caller id for the voices in my head?