With Idina Menzel’s recent appearance on “Glee,” it’s hard not to break out your “Rent” soundtrack and listen to her sing her heart out. The show changed the scope of musical theatre on Broadway and tested the limits on content. Never had a musical so directly addressed homosexuality and AIDS. The show is full of energy, passion, love, loss, and heart break. Let’s pull out our double disc CD and try to get all of the great songs down to the top 8!
(1) “Rent”: Ex-positional songs don’t usually come this entertaining, funny, and spirited. Roger and Mark can’t afford to pay rent and are struggling artists, as in film maker and musician in New York City. This song tells us all about them, their friends, and their past. It’s a great rock song and so catchy.
(2) “One Song Glory”: The desperation and passion in this ballad rivals none. Roger is devastated that he lost his girl friend and found out from her note that he has AIDS. This song shows so much range and heart and is part of the reason we want Roger to find his one song and succeed as a musician before he dies.
(3) “Light My Candle”: Mimi and Roger meet in this number. It’s a flirty, sexy ballad that gives us insight on Mimi’s history and also let us know that Mimi suffers from a drug problem. Roger wants to avoid a relationship but he can’t help but fall for this lovable vixen. It’s an adorable ballad that you will love!
(4) “Tango Maureen”: The harmony, the humor, and the awkwardness is irresistible as Mark and Joanne try to work together despite Mark is Joanne’s girl friend’s ex. The two tango around the subject of their shared love of Maureen as they try to fix technical problems before Maureen’s big rally. This song is so hilarious!
(5) “Over the Moon”: Speaking of the big rally, this is the song performed by Idina Menzel herself. It’s strange, magical, vocally taxing, and full of symbolism. Their friend Benny is trying to sell the building they live in and Maureen is showing how evil that is. It ends with her getting the whole audience to moo and then, of course, she moons them.
(6) “La Vie Boheme”: This show is based on “La Boheme,” so this nod to that fact is clever and the song is a wordy blast. Part rock song, part pop song, it names every person and thing that has ever inspired young, angsty, artistic people. Mark really gets to shine on this number and it’s a great number where every character gets along.
(7) “I’ll Cover You”: This is a sweet melody and very romantic. It’s good enough to be reprised and showcases the most beloved couple in the show; Angel and Collins. These characters are so amazing and their love so special. It’s great to see a gay couple celebrated. This song will make you cry!
(8) “Seasons of Love”: This is the most iconic song from the show. It’s a powerful, gospel number that showcases all the of the voices in the cast. It’s moving and poignant and will change your life. It’s one of those songs that will always be considered one of the best of all time. It represents a generation of musical theatre lovers!