It May Not Have Been Live, But "Rent: Live" Was Still Dancetastic

January 27, 2019

We all emitted a collective groan when the phrase “Previously Recorded” appeared during the first seconds of Fox’s “Rent: Live” broadcast last night. Yup: After cast member Brennin Hunt, playing Roger, injured his foot, the network was forced to air their recording of the dress rehearsal. (Apparently understudies aren’t a thing in the world of the live television musical??) #RentNotLive and #RentKindaLive immediately started trending.

But while the recording may have lacked some of the electric energy that comes from live performance (and suffered from some weird sound issues), it still showed us the full genius of Sonya Tayeh’s choreo, as performed by a thoroughly fabulous cast of dancers.

We already knew that Jordan Fisher, who played Mark, could dance. So it came as no surprise that every Mark-led number slayed on the dance front. From “Tango Maureen,” in which he partnered—ahem, was partnered by—Kiersey Clemons’ equally smooth Joanne…

…to the showstopping “La Vie Boheme,” which also highlighted the fantastic ensemble, Fisher had us living. (Bonus points for the elaborate table choreography in “La Vie Boheme.”)

We hope Fox eventually decides to post clips of “Santa Fe,” because it featured inspired choreo that was alternately slinky and sharp—signature Sonya. “Contact” was, unsurprisingly, very steamy, but it also included some beautifully fluid partnering. And OK, no, it wasn’t especially dancy, but we have to give a shoutout to the burn-it-all-down intensity of Vanessa Hudgens, playing Maureen, during “Take Me Or Leave Me.” It’s official: Hudgens is the queen of the live TV musical. Put her in ALL OF THEM, forever.

Side note: Hudgens hugging the original Maureen, Idina Menzel, during the brief actually-live performance at the end of the broadcast is allllll the energy we need in 2019.

Idina and Vanessa in this moment

The overall verdict? “Rent: Live” may not have been perfect (or live). But it still had us dancing on our couches.