US & Canada

Rent pre-record screened as broken foot halts live show

Rent Image copyright FOX
Image caption Set in 1980s New York, Rent is based on the opera La Bohème

Before a theatre performance, it is tradition to wish actors good luck by telling them to "break a leg".

But Brennin Hunt, star of Fox television's live adaptation of the musical Rent, took the phrase a bit too literally.

He broke his foot during final rehearsals on Saturday and was unable to perform on Sunday.

It meant the majority of the broadcast had to combine footage from the dress rehearsal with the live show.

Image copyright FOX
Image caption Brennin Hunt played Roger Davis, a musician living with HIV

The opening scene, in which Hunt's character Roger plays a guitar solo, included a "previously recorded" note on screen.

The final act was upheld as a live performance with the injured actor sitting on a table with his leg, bound in a black cast, propped up on a chair.

The other actors adapted to perform around him as he was unable to move.

For the finale, the stars of the original 1996 performance of Rent on Broadway joined the live cast on stage to sing its most famous number, Seasons of Love.

Brennin Hunt joined the ensemble in a wheelchair.

Fox, which has also broadcast live remakes of the musicals Grease and A Christmas Story, does not have understudies for its cast.

Rent follows a group of young artists at the height of the HIV/Aids epidemic in the 1980s.

Image copyright FOX
Image caption Vanessa Hudgens has previously performed live as Rizzo in Grease

It was written by Jonathan Larson, who died suddenly in January 1996, a day before the show's premiere.

Aside from Hunt's injury, the performance garnered mediocre reviews. The Washington Post said the sound quality was "wildly off".

CNN Entertainment said: "Anyone who has seen Rent on stage, in all its abundant glory, likely remembers the wallop that it delivered in person, and Fox's telecast couldn't help but feel like a pallid imitation."

But High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens' role as polyamorous performance artist Maureen Johnson garnered an overwhelmingly positive reaction on Twitter.

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