Rent: Live did not go as planned, but producers saved the best for last when Idina Menzel and other members of the original cast made an appearance at the very end to perform "Seasons of Love."
After the Rent: Live cast finished performing "Finale B," the original cast performed a reprise of "Seasons of Love." The actors were joined by their younger counterparts for a celebration at the end.
"Finale B" also included a tribute to Rent author Jonathan Larson, who died before the show's Broadway debut in 1996.
For many viewers, the finale was the best part of the show.
Just had the CATHARSIS of the YEAR when the original cast came out for Seasons of Love. If you watch nothing else, please watch the end of #RentLIVE 😭😭😭— Kelsey Secules (@kelseysecules) January 28, 2019
THE ORIGINAL CAST MEMBERS AT THE END JUST MURDERED MY SOUL OMG I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH😭❤️ #RentLive— G (@giannapellow) January 28, 2019
On Friday and Saturday, Menzel and Anthony Rapp teased their involvement in the show with photos from the set. Just before the broadcast began, FOX confirmed they had cameos in Rent: Live, along with other members of the original cast. Rapp even shared a "family photo" with Jesse L. Martin and Menzel.
The surprise cameos were held back for the last act of the show, which turned out to be the only real live portion of the broadcast. During Saturday's dress rehearsal, musician Brennin Hunt, who plays Roger, suffered a serious ankle injury that made it impossible to perform. Since Roger is an important part in the show, FOX had to air the dress rehearsal.
Before the first commercial brake, the cast explained what happened to Hunt, but assured viewers that at least the final part of the show would air live. Of course, viewers were still disappointed to see the "previously recorded" credit at the beginning of the show. During the live portion, Hunt performed sitting on a table with a boot on his foot.
Rent was written by Larson, who received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical. Loosely based on the opera Le Boheme, the drama centers on struggling artists living in Manhattan during the HIV/AIDS crisis. It was adapted into a film in 2005.
The original Broadway cast included Rapp as Mark Cohen, Adam Pascal as Roger Davis, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi Marquez, Martin as Tom Collins, Menzel as Maureen Johnson, Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel Dumott Schunard, Fredi Walker as Joanne Jefferson and Taye Diggs as Benjamin Coffin III.
Rent: Live stars Jodran Fisher as Mark, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen, Brennin Hunt as Roger, Tinashe as Mimi, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom, Valentina as Angel, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne and Mario as Benjamin
Aside from the non-live nature of the show, fans were not happy with the tinkered lyrics and some of the performances. However, Hudgens earned instant praise for her singing and dedication to the show.
Photo credit: FOX