Rent may have originally been written in the 90s, but it’s still about as relevant as it could be for a 2019 audience.
Fox is putting on its own live production of the show about struggling artists in NYC, dealing with HIV/AIDs and poverty and rising rent prices, and star Vanessa Hudgens, who plays Maureen, sees no reason the story shouldn’t resonate with viewers today.
“We are all in a time and age where there’s a lot going on in the world and the things that are dealt with in Rent are things that are still being dealt with in our current communities,” she tells E! News. “People are still dealing with AIDs. Gentrification in new cities and rent prices going up is a real thing. There’s props where we’re voting on them to see what’s going to happen. It’s all so relevant.”
The show is also a collection of love stories of all different orientations and identities, and Hudgens hopes viewers will take something away from seeing those relationships play out.
“The love stories in Rent are so honest and so raw that if anything, through watching it, will just allow people to accept others that aren’t like them,” she says, though it’s not just the romantic relationships that she says are important—it’s the community aspect.
“I feel like over the past year or two, there’s been so many suicides, to be honest, that it’s really disheartening and depressing to know that these people who we’ve looked up to, designers or artists or musicians have taken their own lives and the people around them had no idea that they were in this state of depression, and I feel like it’s so important for everyone and anyone no matter your circumstances to have a community, a group of people that you can lean on, be inspired by, bounce things off of, and the core of Rent is that. It’s this group of artists coming together, having each other to lean on and push through difficult times.”
Rent Live airs Sunday, January 27 at 8 p.m. on Fox.