“Rent” is heading to television.
The award-winning musical is being adapted as one of Fox’s next live productions, Variety has learned. Fox’s show comes as the musical celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
“Rent” tells the story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil, under the shadow of AIDS. Set in New York City’s gritty East Village, the show is a re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème.”
With the estate of the late original playwright Jonathan Larson, Marc Platt — who worked on Fox’s “Grease: Live” musical,” “La La Land” and “Wicked” — will executive produce the event. Other executive producers are Adam Siegel, Julie Larson, Al Larson and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino, Scott Hemming and Marla Levine.
More details and casting will be announced later. No premiere date has been set for “Rent.”
“We are so honored to partner with the estate of the brilliant Jonathan Larson and producer Marc Platt on one of the great musicals of our time,” said Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. “The title is so iconic, the music is so beloved, and the themes are as meaningful today as they were when the show first premiered on Broadway. With Marc overseeing this project, we are sure it will have a profound impact on the legions of fans who know and love this musical.”
“‘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,” the Larsons commented.
“Rent” originally was produced in New York by New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop. In 2005, Rosario Dawson and Idina Menzel starred in the film adaptation.
For Fox, “Rent” marks the network’s latest live event, following the highly successful “Grease: Live” in January 2016 and also Tyler Perry’s part-live Easter event, “The Passion.” Earlier today, Fox announced an upcoming live adaptation of “A Christmas Story.”
The live musical trend at the broadcast networks started in recent years at NBC, which kicked off the craze with Carrie Underwood’s “Sound Of Music Live,” which was then followed by “Peter Pan Live,” “The Wiz Live,” and most recently, “Hairspray Live.” In the works at NBC is “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which will air on Easter Sunday 2018, plus “A Few Good Men” and “Bye Bye Birdie,” both of which do not have airdates yet. Later this month, ABC will air a TV movie of “Dirty Dancing,” though the project is not live.
Paradigm and Carol Contes of the Guzman Law Group brokered the deal for “Rent” at Fox.