Farewell to Rent and Renfro


That toe-tapping AIDS musical, Rent, just posting a closing notice for June, having run out of tourists lining up to see singing lezzies, trannes, and PWAs. The irony doesn’t escape me that this is a show about bohemians fighting a greedy landlord and now they can’t pay their own housing bosses to keep a roof under their heads anymore. It’s definitely a factor that the long-ago landscape of struggling East Village artists no longer feels warmly nostalgic—it seems like a sci-fi plot! But two things, I feel, put the final nail in Rent‘s lease: the stinky movie version and Spring Awakening! By the way, not to make this about myself, but Evelyn McDonnell, who coedited a book about Rent, told me her research revealed that an early version of the song “La Vie Boheme” include MOI in its breathless list of boho fabulosities. Along the way, some creep took it out and thus a smash was born.

Much sadder, actor Brad Renfro was found dead at 25 yesterday. Not to make this about me again, but while I hit a career high doing a character voice for an internet animated short about a party rabbit in 2000, I was stunned to see Renfro had shown up to voice the lead! This may not have exactly been a high for him, having starred in real films like The Client and Apt Pupil. But hey, show biz is up and down, it was supposedly for charity, and they had nabbed Jason Priestley too. Renfro seemed surprisingly streety to me, but very open, in a semi lost way. In any case, with everyone carrying on a macabre death watch for various starlets, it’s strange that Renfro beat everyone to it.

This week’s La Dolce Musto: “Oscar Predictions Filled With Greed and Vengeance!

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