Oof. This is why understudies exist. Rent: Live aired Sunday night but it wasn't totally live. That's because actor Brennin Hunt, who played Roger, suffered what was reported to be an ankle injury, possibly a break, during Saturday's dress rehearsal. Fox issued a statement, saying the show would go on.
How? With a mix of live acting and pre-taped segments from Saturday's dress rehearsal.
We actually don't have stand-ins. What we do have is a backup recording from the night [before]. The night before we do a full dress rehearsal on camera to tape, so should the metaphorical meteor hit the studio, we can switch to that backup recording, and it's with an audience, and so there is a degree of backup there. Actually, I think on Grease we lost sound for eight seconds and we switched. I think we had to switch to the backup for eight seconds, and no one noticed.
The Rent fans noticed everything in Sunday's three-hour production, and took issue with a lot of it -- especially when there were changes from the Tony Award-winning musical. Rent: Live also starred Vanessa Hudgens (who was great) as Maureen, Jordan Fisher as Mark, Tinashe as Mimi, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne, Valentina as Angel, and Mario as Benny.
The show TV viewers watched wasn't technically live all the way through, but there was a studio audience in attendance and they watched something a bit different. Some of those fans taped scenes and shared snippets so we could see what they were seeing -- including Brennin Hunt's Roger in a wheelchair.
Some fans wish Rent had just adapted to one of their stars being in a wheelchair -- and they did, toward the end of the broadcast, when you could see Roger's right foot in a cast. Could they have gone that way for the whole production? It would've been a super-fast turnaround, changing the set within 24 hours, but at least it really would've been the show going on live.
Others chimed in, wishing the production had really gone with the live studio version for the whole three hours:
Other Rent viewers took issue with ... other Rent viewers:
And some fans loved the show, because it brought the live theater community to TV once again, even if it was just to mock the production with hashtags like #RentNotLive. It's brave of these stars to sign on, knowing how fickle the fans can be -- from The Sound of Music to The Wiz and Grease. This production may have been cursed by someone saying "break a leg" but kudos to the cast and crew for still putting on a show.
That said, maybe have understudies next time -- or have a better plan for keeping the show live, since that "live" angle is the big sell to many TV viewers. How about just keeping the original cast around for the whole thing? As CinemaBlend's own Laura Hurley suggested:
Keep up with everything airing on TV in our 2019 midseason schedule.