When it was released in 2005, critics were not particularly kind to the film adaptation of “Rent.” The New York Times called it “occasionally silly, often melodramatic and never subtle.”
Even so, the film held onto two elements that made the stage musical a sensation on Broadway when it debuted in 1996: a plot revolving around bohemian artists in New York City (that they were also very good looking didn’t hurt); and a soaring soundtrack with rock and pop in its DNA.
That combo was enough to capture the imagination of our critic Maya Phillips, at age 15. In a new essay about the movie, she writes: “For a kid who loved making art and felt stifled by her comfortable but dull and conservative upbringing in the suburbs of Long Island, this vision of artist life in New York was seductive and endlessly captivating.”
The film also brought her to new movie-musical territory — “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Chicago” and “Les Misérables.” Then into the theater house itself, with occasional trips to Broadway.
Now we want to hear from our readers: What was the musical that made you fall in love with the form? Was it a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic? A brooding Fosse revival? Or maybe a Disney animation? Don’t be embarrassed to share! We know most of us did not start with Sondheim.