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Things That Make Me Feel Old: The Rent Remake


When I was an angsty, misunderstood teenager, I wanted few things more than to see Rent on Broadway. It was, after all, a musical for "our generation." I was a sucker for the story, which seemed then like edgy political commentary, and of course I loved the semi-racy, semi-rockin' soundtrack.

Well, apparently I'm no longer hip, and neither are my fellow 20- and 30-somethings who fell hard for Rent the first time around. See, Rent is being remade for British theater — and the producers are calling their show a "contemporary" take on the musical.

Ouch.

This version is "digital production for a digital world — more a pop opera than a rock opera," the director told Variety. He also said that the "grunge-style electric guitar" is all but gone from the soundtrack. Gone the way of flannel, old-school Smashing Pumpkins and the stereotypical Generation X slacker, I suppose.

Granted, Rent is itself a remake of La Boheme, and its story is pegged to a very particular time and place. Parts of the story were feeling dated already when the movie version came out two years ago. But saying Rent needs to be retooled for a younger, cooler generation makes me long for the days when "Seasons of Love" felt deeply meaningful — and maybe even revolutionary.

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