Fox just discovered another of the challenges in producing live versions of famous musicals. One of the stars of this evening’s broadcast of Rent Live, Brennin Hunt, seriously injured his ankle during a dress rehearsal on Saturday.
Unfortunately, Hunt isn’t a minor role, as he’s been slated to play Roger Davis (whose character was played in the original Broadway as well as film versions by Adam Pascal).
It was serious enough that Hunt was taken to a local hospital. Generally, in a play you’d just fall back to an understudy, but so far it seems that it won’t be the case as in a statement to THR, producers have expressed that none of the leads have understudies (which probably isn’t the brightest of ideas when the whole intent is to have a live performance–as anyone who’s done theater can express–things can go sideways).
Fox producers have expressed that Hunt will be live on stage, but that they will also fall back to pre-recorded segments from prior dress rehearsals. Since the character of Roger is in so much of the show and in such a physically active role, it’s hard to say how much of the show will end up being actually live vs. something out of the can.
During a press event, the show’s director Alex Rudzinski said:
We actually don’t have stand-ins. What we do have is a backup recording from the night [before]. So the night before we do a full dress rehearsal on camera to tape, so should the metaphorical meteor hit the studio, we can switch to that back up recording, and it’s with an audience, and so there is a degree of back up there. Actually, I think on Grease we lost sound for eight seconds and we switched. I think we had to switch to the back up for eight seconds, and no one noticed.
FOX’s Rent Live event airs on Sunday, January 27th. Check local listings for times.