At last, Ghostlight Records will release previously unheard music from “Rent” Composer, Jonathan Larson! “Rent” is tied for first in terms of “Un-Block The Music’s” favorite musicals of all time!
Of course, I watched the quasi-live broadcast of “Rent” Sunday night on Fox. In case, you weren’t watching, one of the leads, Brennin Hunt, broke his foot, so they had to broadcast most of the rehearsal rather than showing the whole thing live. Disappointing. Aside from the fact that this would never happen in actual live theater where they have understudies who are as amazing, if not more amazing, than the actual performer, “Un-Block The Music” generally enjoyed the presentation because of Brandon Victor Dixon who slayed it as Collins! Anyway, the writing and the music of Jonathan Larson just cuts to the core; every character memorable; every song memorable. Jonathan died a few hours before “Rent” debuted off-Broadway in 1996, so we were cheated of all other music he would have shared. That is…until now.
The “Jonathan Larson Project” album is the result of a concert recorded recently at Feinstein’s/54 Below in NYC. The show featured previously unrecorded music by Jonathan Larson, including songs from never-produced shows like “1984” and “Superbia”; cut songs; and musical numbers written for theatrical revues and the radio. Performers included Broadway greats, “Spring Awakening’s” Andy Mientus and Krysta Rodriguez as well as two of my favorites, Nick Blaemire (“tick tick… BOOM!”) and George Salazar (“Be More Chill”)!!
The show was directed and conceived by Jennifer Ashley Tepper, with music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Charlie Rosen. Jennifer was one of the first people to agree to an interview with “Un-Block The Music” when it debuted last year. She is a force to be reckoned with, and I suggest that you watch her closely as her career soars starting with her Broadway debut as Producer of “Be More Chill” which will open this month at the Lyceum theater. (https://unblockthemusic.blog/2018/05/03/jennifer-ashley-tepper-do-what-you-love-and-do-it-very-loudly/)
The “Jonathan Larson Project” release date is April 5, but it is available for pre-order at: https://ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/jonathanlarsonproject
If this story interested you, check out features about Jennifer and Joe Iconis (composer “Be More Chill”) and others under “Contemporary Broadway” on the main menu of “Un-Block The Music.” Comment and share! A redesigned blog and newsletter are coming soon! Keep a look out!
And just case you care, my other favorite musical is “Phantom Of the Opera”. While “Rent” is raw, “Phantom” is lavish. I’ve seen both musicals multiple times; the diversity and excitement of live theater!