Seeing Rent again live is restoring my love of the piece that the movie tarnished. The first act book is tightly constructed and a lot of important information flies at you. I still love the solos and duets but I've gained new appreciation for the choral numbers. The flea market sequence, A Happy New Year and the funeral confrontation do a lot of heavy lifting for plot and character growth and are musically complex.
My high school peers knew all the words to "La Vie Boheme." I had to look up half the references as if it was "I'm Still Here." The point is that the rich have absorbed their pop culture from the poor artists they scorn. I'd forgotten the police are burning down the homeless tent city during that song.
All those Benny defenders who say he just wants his rent, forgot the part where he runs out on his wife to offer a homeless woman drug money for sex . I forgot that part too because the second act is such a mess. A lot of important developments occur offstage between scenes. I decided to take a stab at tracking them in a chart. It quickly grew unwieldy.