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Rent's "La Vie Boheme": Living Life Creatively

Cover for Rent: Original Broadway Cast Recording

For #SongLyricsSunday, hosted by Jim at A Unique Title For Me, the prompt for this week is “La”. I am actually writing this post before he posts the full explanation of the prompt. The reason why is that I have a free Saturday to write (and that I was about 14 hours ahead of Jim). So when I saw that the prompt was “La”, I immediately thought about Rent‘s “La Vie Boheme”.

“La Vie Boheme” is featured in my playlist to create your a-ha for 2020. Check other musical songs as well as inspiring tunes to help make your 2020 awesome!

Rent: A Musical That Jumpstarted Many Stars’ Careers

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, then you know about the mega-hit Disney movie Frozen. I don’t have to explain the plot or the characters as you probably have seen the movie once or many times if you have children. The cast is filled with many talented actors and actresses with the lead character Elsa played Idina Menzel. Many know Menzel as Elsa, but not for me.

I first knew the mega-talented actress and singer when she originated the role of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked. This musical was well-known with vocal students as songs like “I’m Not That Girl” and “Defying Gravity” were popular tunes to perform. But, during the same time as Wicked became popular, the theatrical version of Rent came out. And that is how I knew about Menzel’s first Broadway role: Maureen Johnson.

Although Menzel has been in the spotlight for the past six years, other cast members from Rent have gone on to have successful careers. If you are a huge Law & Order fan like I am, then you would know that Jesse L. Martin (Tom Collins) went onto play Ed Green for nine years. He is currently on The Flash as a major character. Anthony Rapp (Mark Cohen) is Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery. He is also famous for his allegations against Kevin Spacey in 2017 that led Spacey to be blacklisted from Hollywood.

Taye Diggs — who played the enemy of the cast, Benjamin “Benny” Coffins III — has been on various TV shows and movies over the years. Adam Pascal (Roger Davis) went onto star in many other musicals (like Disney’s Aida) and films (like The School of Rock).

Some original cast members had success before appearing on Broadway. Daphne Rubin-Vega (Mimi Marquez) was the lead singer in the late 80s/early 90s Latin freestyle group Pajama Party. After their breakup in 1992, Rubin-Vega continued to release music, even after appearing on Broadway.

La Vie Boheme: Living Creatively For Today

“La Boheme” is one of the last songs to be performed in Act I. As the cast gather around to celebrate the success of Maureen’s avant-garde performance, Benny criticizes Joanne’s protest against kicking out the homeless from their homes in Alphabet City. He also digs into his friends’ bohemian lifestyle. In response, the cast sings “La Boheme” to celebrate the unusual but creative lifestyle that they love. The piece is broken into two parts, “La Boheme A” and “La Boheme B”, that has a subplot involving the romance between Rodger and Mimi sandwiched in between.

Jonathan Larson wrote all the songs in Rent. He based the musical from his own experiences living in New York City. But, another influence was Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, which help inspired Lawson to write the plot and characters. Nevertheless, Rent is legendary in modern Broadway as the musical brought public attention to various social issues, like homophobia, HIV/AIDS, and addiction.

The lyrics behind “La Vie Boheme” might be odd and nonsensical. But, the message is pretty clear: “Fudge living conveniently, just live your life freely and be yourself”. And this one of the best messages to inspire for a better 2020! We live in a world now that we seek to stick to the status quo. But inside, we want to break from it and live freely. And 2020 is a perfect time to do so! Don’t be afraid to go against the grain! Live your dreams and live life the way you want!

Check out the “La Vie Boheme” from the film version of Rent. Let me know what you think about the song in the comments below. Does it inspire you to take action in 2020 in order to live the way you want?

Warning: There is language featured in the video not suitable for kids

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