This week, Fox announced that it will be broadcasting two new live musicals during 2017; Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Rent and a musical version of the holiday classic A Christmas Story. Rent is slated as the network’s next venture into broadcasting live theater with A Christmas Story set to air around the holiday season (naturally).
Rent, a rock musical loosely based on Gicomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme, was written and created by Jonathan Larson. The show originally hit NYC Theater workshops in 1993 before being transformed into the musical that we all know and love today. The musical tells the story of starving and struggling artists in New York City trying to survive in Alphabet City while battling poverty, their landlord and illness, specifically, AIDS/HIV. Sadly, Larson died unexpectedly from an aortic dissection the morning before the show debuted off-broadway in 1996, never seeing the impact and success of his creation. The musical would eventually go on to be a Broadway hit, running through 2008 and winning numerous awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and astounding critical acclaim. In 1996, the show celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The original Broadway cast included Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jessie L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Freddie Walker and Taye Diggs. In 2005, the musical was adapted into a film which reunited much of the original Broadway cast.
Larson’s estate executors, Al and Julie Larson, will serve as executive producers on Fox’s Rent. The pair released the following statement regarding the musical coming to television:
“Rent was Jonathan’s dream of sharing the theater and the passion he had for it with a whole new generation. None of us could have imagined the massive impact that the messages and themes in Rent would have on the theater community or the world … except for Jonathan. We are absolutely thrilled to be continuing Jonathan’s legacy and the still-relevant themes of the show in this way.”
Additionally, Fox will also be airing A Christmas Story around the holidays. in 2012, a Broadway musical based on the 1983 classic Christmas comedy debuted and, this is the version that Fox will be bringing to live television.
Marc Platt, who served as executive producer on Fox’s Grease: Live, will reprise that role for both Rent and A Christmas Story. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who adapted the A Christmas Story film for the Broadway stage, will be adding new music to the television production.
Regarding the A Christmas Story production, Fox Broadcasting entertainment president David Madde said in a statement:
“A Christmas Story is one of the most beloved holiday films of all time – audiences have made a yearly ritual of re-watching it – and we are so thrilled to have Marc leading the charge in bringing the musical version of that film to television. The extraordinarily gifted Pasek and Paul were instrumental in transposing the movie to the stage, and we believe the transition to live television event will be just as entertaining for viewers.”
A Christmas Story will rival NBC’s live production of Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez. NBC’s live musical of Jesus Christ Superstar is also planned for Easter 2018.
Additionally information regarding casting and air-dates are still forthcoming. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
How do you feel about the upcoming Fox network live musicals, Rent and A Christmas Story? Will you be watching?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter