Brennin Hunt, who was set to perform as Roger Davis in Fox’s live version of “Rent,” injured what was originally thought to be his ankle during the live dress rehearsal on Sat. 26. But, as they say, the show must go on.
Hunt posted a video in his Instagram story showing off his cast and confirming he broke his foot. The video showed one of the show’s costumers sewing him into a pair of pants that had to be customized to accommodate the cast. Hunt will be at the live event, although a source says they may have to use some pieces recorded from the Jan. 26 rehearsal for the broadcast given the nature of the physicality of his character’s choreography. Fox also confirmed that the original Broadway cast of the play will appear during the live broadcast of the show.
“The experience of putting together this beautiful new production of my brother’s work, while emotional, has been truly joyous for all of us. This new cast has embodied the spirit of the show from day one and they embraced Brennin with positive and uplifting love in his moment of need,” said executive producer Julie Larson in a statement. “‘Rent’ has always been about resilience and community. I speak from my heart when I say that we have a spectacular show for you tonight. We can’t wait for a new generation to experience Jonathan’s legacy.”
The incident occurred just ahead of the final act. Production paused while Hunt was checked out on-set. Variety observed that although he appeared to be in pain, he returned to the stage to finish the rehearsal, physically supported by cast member Brandon Victor Dixon and executive producer Marc Platt on either side of him. Hunt spent the final act of the rehearsal seated on the table in Roger and Mark’s loft set, with his ankle elevated over the top of a chair.
During the orchestral title song reprise play-out that closed the show, Adam Pascal, the original Roger, headed back to Hunt to envelope him in a hug and whisper what appeared to be words of support in his ear. Jordan Fisher, who plays Mark Cohen in the Fox production, also sat at the table with Hunt for some time during the play-out.
After Saturday’s rehearsal ended Hunt was taken to a hospital for assessment of the injury.
Hunt is a singer-songwriter whose most recent television role was on the musical drama “Nashville.” Prior to the show he told Variety he was “pulling from a lot of my personal experiences” for the role.
“‘One Song Glory’ I can relate to very much because for the past 12 years I’ve been a struggling singer-songwriter in Nashville. I’ve been in and out of publishing deals, writing songs for a living, getting advances, getting dropped,” he said.
Ahead of the show he admitted he thought the most complicated part of the live televised musical endeavor would be to “keep in mind people are watching this on 47-inch TVs in their homes. The challenge for me as an actor and a performer is the balance and not to be too over the top.”
In addition to Hunt and Fisher, Fox’s version of “Rent” stars Tinashe, Vanessa Hudgens, Kiersey Clemons, Brandon Victor Dixon, Mario and Valentina.
Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” was inspired in great part by Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Boheme.” He first began workshopping the production in New York in 1993, and it opened on Broadway in April 1996. Larson never got to see the success of the play, as he passed away on Jan. 25, 1996. The original Broadway run ended in 2008, with the final performance filmed and released in theaters and later on DVD as “Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.” The play also spurned touring production, a 2005 big screen adaptation directed by Chris Columbus, and a reimagined version that played Off-Broadway from 2011-12.
“Rent” airs Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. on Fox.