Not Quite Live: Rent Forced to Use Pre-recorded Footage After Star Brennin Hunt Breaks His Foot
No day but yesterday?
Fox had to make a last-minute switch to its live television production of Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical on Sunday. After star Brennin Hunt broke his foot during a Saturday night dress rehearsal, producers decided to air portions of the program pre-recorded.
The announcement was made after the first commercial break, with the entire cast grouped together on stage.
“Last night during our performance in front of a live audience, one of our cast members sustained an injury,” Vanessa Hudgens, who plays Maureen, explained. “A visit to the hospital confirmed that Brennin Hunt, our Roger, broke his foot and will be unable to perform tonight.”
“But Rent has always been about community, resiliency and bouncing back, so the show much go on,” added RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Valentina, who plays Angel.
Added Jordan Fisher, Rent’s Mark: “Most of what you’ll see tonight comes will from last night’s performance, but we have all rallied together to rework the final act so all of us can perform it for you live.”
All banded together in the end to quote Larson’s inspiring message of resilience: “No day but today.”
While audiences at home weren’t given a live performances, those sitting in the television studio in Los Angeles did get a performance — which, according to Twitter video, featured Hunt in a wheelchair, his foot elevated.
Video screens showed the broadcast version, meanwhile, so people in the audience could see how it was intended to be.
Prior to the show, Fox Entertainment & 20th Century Fox Television opened up about Hunt’s injury in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“Last night during a live performance of FOX’s production of RENT, one of the actors, Brennin Hunt, was injured,” the statement read. “But in the spirit of RENT, everyone – producers and cast, original and current — is dedicated to ensuring that tonight’s broadcast must, and will, go on.”
A source told TVLine that Fox may use some pre-taped material from the rehearsal and re-stage some of Hunt’s scenes to accommodate his injury for the broadcast.
Just hours before the broadcast on Sunday, Hunt shared a screenshot of Variety’s article about his injury via his Instagram Story but did not provide additional information.
According to Variety, Hunt was injured ahead of the musical’s final act. Although production momentary paused, Hunt reportedly finished the rehearsal.
Following the conclusion of the rehearsal, Hunt was taken to a hospital to assess the extent of his injury, the outlet reported.
“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,” executive producer Julie Larson said in another 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.”
Fox’s production of Rent — directed by the musical’s original Broadway director Michael Grief (stage direction) and Alex Rudzinski (TV direction) — was produced by Larson’s estate alongside Mark Platt (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Grease Live, La La Land, Wicked).