La Vie Boheme
Oh. Right. Hi.

Or: An Important Reminder Why I Should Probably Shut Up About Flight of the Conchords Already

Rentoriginalcastposter_2 So the first thing you need to know about going to see Rent on Broadway is that there is a crazy line before the show. It snakes around the block. It crowds the sidewalk and yes, all those people have tickets.

As I mentioned on Friday, we actually saw Rent before, ages and ages ago. Probably the first cast after the original cast left. It was good. We clapped and I cried and then we got on with our lives. I don't believe there was a line.

As we approached the theater Jason went pale. Jason hates lines. He hates anything remotely resembling a line.

"We have tickets, right?" he asked, "That's just the line for those cheap tickets, right?"

I glanced at my watched and shook my head. "The lottery already happened."

We wandered through the crowd towards Will Call -- past many people fanning themselves with Ticketmaster printouts -- and I tried to figure out what I was missing here. There was no line at Will Call. We all had assigned seats. They never start the show until everybody is seated.

I collected our tickets from Will Call and joined what turned out to be a secondary line out on the sidewalk: the Line For People Who Are Not Waiting In That Goddamned Line.

"Is it like, the Star Wars line?" I asked. "Are people doing it"

We stood in a line outside the Uptown Theater in DC once, for the first Star Wars movie. We waited for an hour and a half and Jason was ready to claw his face off, especially after he had the brilliant idea of escaping to Starbucks, only to discover there was also a line there, and he returned coffeeless and kind of wild-eyed and subsequently hated the movie.

"Lines are never fun." Jason said. "There's got to be another reason."

The Goddamned Line started to move, and people at the front of the line started to whoop and cheer, and some of the people in the Line for People Who Are Not Waiting In That Goddamned Line stepped forward and casually assimilated into the Goddamned Line. Nobody protested or complained, and Jason grabbed my arm and we followed suit, even though I cringed and died a little because holy crap, we just cut in line. We could go to jail! Imaginary Authority Figures! Noooo!

At this point I was still beyond baffled about The Line, because seriously, what's the point of getting someplace all early to stake out a spot in line if you aren't even going to defend that spot in line?  Start a fight! Roll your eyes! Register a disgruntled HEY! Something!

But I decided that maaaaaybe it was time to Let It Go. Just a little bit, anyway.

I should back up and mention that the primary reason we decided to see Rent again was the return of two of the original cast members, and because I was able to get us third-row seats. They were too far over to the right side of the stage to be considered awesome, but still. Third row! We could actually see faces! We might get sweat on!


Ok. So the first two center rows of the orchestra section are sold for $20 right before the show in a lottery system. I knew about this, but never had the patience or the copious free weekends in New York to participate. And then -- this I did not know -- other unsold and "undesirable" seats get sold at a deep discount to anybody who didn't win a $20 seat. The majority of these undesirable seats are the close-in rows at the far ends of the theater. Next to our seats. Since we were total suckers to pay full price. Suckers! N00BS! Yuppie scum!

Whatever, I liked our seats. Some of the blocking on-stage meant we spent some scenes staring at people's backs, but hey, I can watch the movie at home. I came to see Mimi's ass in close-up and to see if she wears Spanx underneath those blue pants. (Negative. Hot damn!)

The problem with our seats were all the people sitting right around our seats. We were smack-dab in the middle of the crazy fanatic section. The woman next to me had seen the show 350 times. A few of them were planning to enter the lottery again that night. The girl behind me was breathlessly and EXTREMELY LOUDLY explaining every possible obstructed view we might encounter to two "virgins" behind her.


At this, the woman next to me piped up that his wife might object to that, and then the entire group started chiming in about how beeeeeeautiful his wife was and she's soooooo sweeeeeet, what, you never met her? Oh, I met her. She's sooooo nice.

There's always something a little cringe-worthy about witnessing unabashed fandom like that -- when it's like listening to a toddler explain their favorite episode of Elmo's World but you know, coming from a fairly grown-up person. I was once completely obsessed with Les Miserables, but I was 12. And believed that only Eponine really understood me, what with that fucking popular rich girl Cosette stealing her crush and all.

At one point they all quibbled over who had fewer straight friends.

Anyway, the show finally started (one girl said it always starts about 10 minutes late, but was quickly corrected by someone else who said no, seven minutes late), and the girl behind me promptly burst into tears. She cried through most of the first act, and then screeched out I LOVE YOU!!!to Anth0ny when he stepped close to our seats to deliver a line. Anytime Anth0ny or Ad@am did anything, half the audience erupted into ear-splitting screams. It was bedlam. They were rock stars. They were the Beatles.  (The poor girl from  American Idol was all, "Fuck, man, I bet Frenchie Davis didn't get upstaged like this.)

The thing is, they were amazing. If you haven't seen the show...oh man. RUN. DON'T WALK. Particularly if you can see the current cast. I cried through most of the second act -- not the blubbery omg squee sobs of the girl behind me, but just a sort of constant leaking from my eyeballs that I could not control. I noticed the one other guy in our section wiping his eyes several times.  Jason turned to me after a couple songs and simply mouthed the word "WOW."

In the end, though, we were the only ones sniffling. The fans around us were too preoccupied with getting the standing ovation started (standing up before the final notes of the show were even over) and then hightailing it outside to wait for autographs. And I wondered how effective the show could possibly be after 25, 50 or 350 times. At what point do you stop seeing the story and hearing the songs and start only seeing the tiny mistakes in timing and hearing the missed notes?

Maybe never? Or maybe around the same time you find yourself arguing over whether John or Frank or Harry was the better conductor with somebody during intermission?

I think twice is enough for me, though.



I never knew there was such a thing as a Rent Head- the BED head is cute though


Holy shit, I was first! (just had to add that because I'm a geek)


Whew. I got exhausted just reading this!
Thanks for the vicarious thrill.


Is the movie good? 'Cause, if so, I'll just see that. Every time I've been in NYC I see something dumb like 'Miss Saigon' (ugh) or 'The Producers' (original cast and ugh!) I do love me some 'Flight of the Conchords' though. I wanna be Mel. She's scary awesome.


RENT is awesome, the first time I saw it was in highschool over 10 years ago and I loved it. We saw it in Tampa and had balcony seats, but luckliy brought binoculars. I can't decide which one I like better Rent or La Boheme, I guess it's the mood I'm in at the time.


Seeing as I've never seen Rent (please don't stone me. PLEASE.), my only reference for Anthony Rapp is Adventures in Babysitting, and oh, did I have a huge crush on him then. Am I alone here? Anyone?


I've only seen the movie but would love love love to see the show! I live in New York and work near Times Square, so I would wait in line for cheapo tix. Where did you get all the info on the $20 seat lottery and deeply discounted tickets? Please share!


I'm kind of a rent fanatic, but not to the extent you mentioned. I've seen it like 5 times, but never on Broadway. My husabnd hated musicals but I love them, so he sees them, and he loved rent. We both walked down the aisle to selections from the score.

Okay, maybe I'm a big dork.


I have never seen RENT. I tried to get through the DVD once but couldn't. I enjoyed reading about your experience, though.


Whoa, crazy. Who knew? I always had a hard enough time trying to imagine how the actors did broadway plays EVERY DAY, for YEARS, without getting sick of it. And now there are corresponding fans to also wonder about.


Umm... freaky.

I've seen it twice, and really don't need to see it again. I loved it, but fricken-frackin Broadway, way too expensive for more than that. And also, I agree that at some point you become desensitized to the plot and the drama. You're all "The Benny I saw in Chicago was so much better than this guy."


Delurking after years to confess to being a former Renthead, and also someone who has done the lottery countless times. It's okay; I was a freshman in college. It was so therapeutic back then (still mostly the original cast) and I would cry through the entire second act as well. Then, sometime in 1999, one of my theater geek friends told me to get over it already. Sound advice, considering what you went through. But I still love it. Quietly.

Also, has anyone read Anthony Rapp's biography? Riveting.


if i were 10 years younger and a whole lot rivher, i'd totally be a renthead... but not the dorky kind. just the kind that would surprise people when they hear i'd spent a month of my life in a line for a show, and seen it 1,000 times. but totally not dorky.


Rent? Bossy thinks she'd rather own.


When I read what the crazy girl behind you breathlessly explained to the Rent virgins behind you, I could not help but picture your little next door neighbor peeking over the fence.

And Jonniker -- thank you for telling me that Anthony Rapp was from Adventures in Babysitting! I love that movie and have always wondered why the guy from the Original Broadway Cast poster that my roommate had was oddly familiar. "Don't fuck with The Lords of Hell" -- "Don't fuck with the babysitter!!"


The Broadway Lines started a few seasons back, and until (I think) last year, they were confined to the Big Budget Musicals (not to get all New-Yawk-snooty on yo' asses, but Big Budget Musicals=Tourist Fodder,'specially in the summer and autumn).

Very rarely does The Line form outside a (non-musical) play that doesn't star someone from the Teevee box or the moving pictures. I only recall seeing The Line once outside a drama which didn't have a big name in it. And that Line appeared to be made up of very old people. Older than me, even.


see, i told you it would be worth it! while i do love Rent, I am not a renthead - but i can totally sympathize with you because we had some of those people behind us... complete with hysterical sobbing when angel died.

won't it be a good story for noah though? "once upon a time, when mommy and daddy were young and super cool, we had a freakish night at the theater in NYC...." :)


I saw a touring company of Rent when I was about five months pregnant with twins. I thought it was fine -- not crazy fanatical-making, but fine. My husband, who doesn't really like musicals, spent the intermission talking about how awful it was except for one song and the performer, who was quite awesome. The end of the thing was beyond fantastic, though.

When the guy screams, "Mimi!"? It made my husband laugh. Oh, he tried to disguise it by just doing that shaking thing, but I could tell he was just fighting the laughter. Which made me want to laugh, too. And when I looked over to witness what I knew was my husband shaking and convulsing with tears runnin g down his face with laughter, I noticed the stranger sitting next to my husband was turning to look, too. And that was when I just started to laugh out loud because the look on his face went from, "Aww, the grown man sitting next to me is moved to great, heaving sobs" to "That man is obviously deficient in emotional growth because he is really laughing almost silently at the most moving moment in modern theater -- and his wife is outright laughing her head off!" in about a nano-second.

We still shout, "Mimi!" at each other and then laugh like idiots.


I like when you discuss the Imaginary Authority Figures because they rule my life.


I've never left a comment before, but felt the urge now. I saw Rent a few weeks after it initially opened on Broadway. At the time it 'changed' my life - whatever, I was 17. Anyways, a couple years later I bought tickets to see the show in Chicago with some friends. We sat in the balcony, eager for the show to begin. This woman, wearing an all-grey sweatsuit, sat in front of us. No biggy, right? No. She was a Rent-head. Stand up, sit down. Over and over again; every time she rose or fell, she made noises. Orgasm-like noises. Groan here, moan there. Run the hands through the hair, scream. It was all rather disturbing. During the finale she stood up and starts 'whooting' the cast. You know, raise the roof hand motions to match the "Woo, woo, woo!" It was just too much, I couldn't take it. At the end of the show, I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "It's very obvious to me that you had a good time. I feel the need to let you know that you ruined this experience for everyone around you." She made some stupid face and grunted. I've never seen Rent since. I listen to the music and enjoy it. I just think that I've forever lost that theater-awe. Sweatsuit lady ruined it for me.


For my thirteenth birthday, my parents brought me and bunch of my friends to see Rent. We loved it. We talked about moving to the city and living la vie boheme. We were in LOVE with Roger. We bought the soundtrack and listened to it many, many times.

But, um, we were thirteen.

Now I work in the godforsaken theater district and sometimes if I leave work late and forget not to turn down that particular sidestreet, I too encounter The Line. And I've been known to throw a few elbows to make my way through.


Dude, atleast the show was worth it in the end...I hate lines too!


I was in Borders on Saturday when I small tween child almost knocked me over to get to the new issue of Rolling Stone with Adam Levine and the Maroon 5 guys on the cover. She then flipped the thing open and litterally screamed in the store. For the next three minutes she looked at all the pretty pictures while breathing heavily, occasionally squealing and whispering, "Oh My God! Oh My God!" The child was maybe 13. She had braces. She was making orgasm like noises. It was so uncomfortable. She then ran away to find someone and returned 5 minutes later and did the same damn thing. It was weird. I was scared for this poor child.

I have never felt love for anything like that in my life. I am pleased that I can say this.


Why are these people still alive? That shit is unacceptable in a movie theater, and that's CHEAP entertainment. I would've killed someone before the show started just as an example to the rest (well, not really, but I wouldn't have felt even slightly bad about telling the idiots to shut the fuck up).


What's funny to me about this whole fan phenomenon is that I saw Rent, alone, on a whim, when it was still relatively new. I was in London, and decided to see a matinee. As I was alone, a single ticket was easy to come by.

I agree- the show is awesome. I was in college and so I bought a T-shirt (because that's what people that sort of age do, you know). When I walked out at the end, there was a small gathering of people at a back door. The stage door. And the cast was giving autographs. So, they signed my shirt.

No lines. No fuss. I don't think I could see it again now, because it would ruin that "pure" experience!


GAH. Just GAH.

(Saw it in SLC (woo!) and got the most pleasure out of watching the locals leave when they realized the show was about AIDS and sex and omigosh *whispered* gays.)


Imagine what it is like for the actors...the last show I did, people were TALKING BACK TO US WHILE WE WERE ONSTAGE. Um, this is not your living room on Must See Thursday...I CAN HEAR YOU!!! Very hard not to giggle...


Um, yeah. My husband and I took his sister and BIL to see Rent almost 10 years ago when it first hit the road, in Charlotte, North Carolina (bible capital of the world). I loved it, I totally cried. It was awesome, and we were way the hell up in the nosebleed section and it was still that good.
Then as we were leaving I asked my SIL if she liked it, she said, no, not really. Oh my lands, Why? She said because it was really heard to be sympathetic to those people's plight, because they were gay and doing drugs and God just doesn't approve of those behaviors, so they were obviously being punished.
I stood in the middle of the street we had been crossing with my mouth hanging open until my husband grabbed my arm and steered me into the nearest bar and ordered me a drink.


I hated Rent. I saw it on Broadway a few years ago when Frenchie was on it and Ruben Studdard and the skinny man-woman thing came to see her. I have to say that Clay made an effort to be fan friendly with all the crazies in the audience, but Ruben slunk in (as much as he can slink) through a back entrance.
Anyhoooooo, I could not understand a damn thing. The audio was terrible. All I heard was screaming and understood not a single word. It was far from my first show, but at the end of the first act, I though maybe the show was over as I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I was going to leave, but no one else was and I am nothing if not a follower. So I stayed and luckily figured the story out in the second act. But geez! Bad Rent. Bad! Naughty.


I have a friend who is like that for the musical Wicked, she's seen it dozens upon dozens of times and goes on and on about little inflections and staging and every itty bitty detail. I love her to death, but I just don't understand it.


Ugh. I hate Rent but my husband likes it. We saw a touring company of it in Vegas and he was sold on it. I have always, always, ALWAYS, sat by people like you did. In every section I've ever sat in. UGH.


The theater is great, and a wonderful horizon-broadening experience for anyone (esp the youngens). That being said, I'm a fan of the DVDs (Rent, Phantom etc) because you can use subtitles and really understand the lyrics. The story is, afterall, in the lyrics.


Fanatics are the best. Except for when they are sitting right next to you. Did they puffy-paint t-shirts and everything? Because that would be rad.


I'm fairly jealous right now! I'm not a renthead or anything, but I did really enjoy it (the DVD) and I wish I lived somewhere I could get to a lot more live shows. I did get to see Phantom of the Opera live in Vancouver and that made my year :-)

Mother Of Beans

Amy, I find myself jealous!

Mother Of Beans

Oh, and today is my Birthday, so that means you totally should have invited me. No big deal!


Holy crap. The first time I ever visit your site and already you are my bff.

RENT is my favorite, adn I still think I'm meant to play Eponine someday. You know, when I suddenly get a great voice.


oh, you'll love this. years ago, my (then) boyfriend and i were offered free tickets to see rent. we had nothing better to do that night so we went. at intermission, we left. went to a bar had had a drink. took us the first round to figure that we'd left halfway through and that wasn't the end. we didn't go back. we ordered another round.

i'm not much for musicals.

Barb in Ohio



Cosette IS a fucking popular rich crush-stealing girl. You are correct.


i've seen it seven times, but! i do it for my friends who have never seen it! they can't go by themselves, right?

also, screw you: eponine was totally my best friend, not yours.


I didnt' know Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal were back. That actually makes me want to see it...

... which after the cast previous to this one I would NEVER THINK WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO MY BRAIN. They were awful. It was, I think, my 3rd time.

And that was enough, until you said Anthony and Adam... but dood, don't they look mad old now??

OMG am NOT a RENThead, I swear.


Never got into Rent, although my husband likes it. A cultured little priss like me doesn't want to hear moaning and groaning about social issues. I go see Broadways shows like "Spamalot"!!! Now that is entertainment at its finest! And an odd lack of Fanatics to ruin your theatre experience!...only a couple of random coconut-clappers interspersed amongst the audience. Plus, the cast we saw in May '06 was great--kind of played off of the audience if there was an odd remark made here-and-there.
Yep...this is me as a French Knight:


fucking typepad

or try



(last few characters of the URL are
album=210/pos=4.html )


I used to work at a ticket concierge, and as a result I've seen it close to 20 times because I always knew when the discounts were good.

It never gets old for me-I still love love love the show (although I am not a nutty rent head).

As a general note though, the best seats at the Nederlander are rows AA-EE in the center front mezzanine. Because of all the action hapenning on stage, those have the best view. You're also still close enough to see faces/expressions/etc.


If I had any excess money I would fly to NYC just to see Anthony and Adam. Unlike many fans, I liked the movie as well. I thought Rosario Dawson kicked ass. Obviously I wish they would have kept a little more of the music in but whatever, as movies go it was pretty good.

I'm mostly commenting to say how much I related to the Les Miz thing. It was the first professional musical that I ever saw and I was 12. I loved Eponine. I would sing "On My Own" in my room everynight and think about how the boy I liked would never like me. I wore my Les Miz sweatshirt like constantly. I actually performed "Little People" complete in costume for the sixth grade talent show. Wow, I was such a dork. But nice to know I wasn't the only one.


OK, the line thing is a bit over the top. But it's actually been around since the early days of Rent (circa '96). One of the producers implemented it to create a way for the show to be accessible to the fan base at an affordable rate. It may actually have been one of the first shows to have a line, but don't quote me on that. It eventually turned into a lottery, but it used to be a first-come, first-served, sleep-out-for-tickets event.

As Melissa said, I still love it "quietly." In 1998, I wrote my master's thesis on the musical and the audience's relationship to the text. So I probably fall/fell into the Renthead category. And I reckon Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal - awesome as they are/were - are a decade too old for these roles, but it's probably still great to see them as Mark and Roger!


"... At one point they all quibbled over who had fewer straight friends."

One mouthful of water all over the keyboard later...

Amy, you sure as hell do have a way with a tale. In anybody else's hands, this story would have been so dull. In yours... well, I'm still wipin' up the water. Brava!

And the bedhead pics from your last post? Noah IS DIVINE. Quel bebe tres delicieux. Or whatever. If he were a chocolate bunny, I'd start with his ears.

Fraulein N

I have recently become convinced that I need to see this damn show, already.


Damn, I go away for just a little while (several months) and you go and get a new site design. Sweeet!

-The artist formerly known as LateShow


excellent storytelling :)
i wanted to belt the crazygirl(s)

pee ess, the new site design is fantastic!

now i can totally know if i'm reading you or perez hilton!

(i keed.)


OMG... Fancy redesign! So nice!

jive turkey

Ooo! Love the new look! Pale pink and light sage green - two of my favorite colors.


wow -- went away for the night and came back to a new look! Personally I loved the old look, and it was like a comfortable out hoodie....very pink! But nice...also, cutest kid ever! Love bed head ;-)


Wow- what a shock but I like the new look.


Surprised me! But the new look is very cool.


So pretty! love the new look!


I was so surprised, but LOVE the new layout! Pretty!

The comments to this entry are closed.