So far, I’ve never attended a funeral.
Christian funerals have a different focus than others. Even the word “funeral” is avoided; many Christians prefer “celebration of life.” Because we believe the deceased person is better off in heaven and we will see them again, there’s an emphasis on joy rather than sadness.
I don’t disagree with that perspective, but it’s hard to imagine making that my reality. To lose someone–a friend, a lover, a brother–you love so much and then acknowledge it’s for the best seems impossible to me. Even knowing that person is in a better place, I would rather they were still here with me. That’s why watching “Rent” cuts me up (aside from the fact that it’s one big sobfest). No matter which version you watch, all of the characters want the same thing: they wish Angel was still alive.
Lucky for me, there are billions of versions of “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” on Youtube. Today’s post came down to three: Jesse L. Martin’s rendition from the 2005 movie, Michael McElroy portrayal from the filmed Broadway play, and Michael Levesque’s version from a more recent production.
A lot of people didn’t like the film version, and I can see why–compared to the stage play, it comes off as restrained. It, however, has most of the original cast. Jesse L. Martin’s tremulous vocals and shots of the others crying are enough to get me–by this point in the film, I was weeping (though that was in large part due to “Without You,” the subject of a future post.)
I’m not in love with Michael McElroy as Collins, but I loved the other actors. Their voices got progressively shakier as they proceeded with the funeral, so much that I was crying before I even got to the song.
I found the ensemble cast in the last version less than impressive. When Michael Levesque started singing, I was first impressed that that voice was coming from that body. His voice cracked several times and he had trouble standing. Finally, near the end, he broke down completely.
It’s still a toss-up and I’ll probably change my mind later today, but for now I’ll go with the Broadway version because I can’t get past the intro without tearing up. If you have time, please check out the other versions. Jesse L. Martin is forever my favorite Collins.
Need cheering up?
Several songs were cut from the film version of “Rent,” so I had no idea this existed until I saw the Broadway version.
Pure chaos. Intricate harmonies. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. The best Roger I’ve ever heard. This is “Christmas Bells,” my favorite song.