// Life Cafe//
This is the saddest thing to happen for a huge fan of the hit Broadway musical, subsequently a movie, RENT. They are closing down the Life Cafe at East Village. For those who don’t know, the East Village Life Cafe is the setting for the musical and where Jonathan Larson, the mastermind of RENT, wrote most of the musical. I’ve never been to the Life Cafe, frankly, and was on my to go list when I visit New York. Now I won’t be able to see it.
I came into the RENT bus quite late, 2005/6 when the movie was shown here, but the first time my sister and I saw it we became instant fans! We have seen the movie several times after, falling in love with the music over and over again. Our Siamese cat, Missy, was the “beneficiary” of watching the movie over and over again when she was a baby, in 2007, that I now actually think she’s also a fan because when I play RENT's music, she sleeps, but when I play say Avril Lavigne she complains. I remember wondering if Life Cafe was real and after researching discovered that it was real and that fans would go to the place to pay tribute to Jonathan, who died the night before the off-Broadway premiere. RENT was the musical that introduced me to Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal.
The year RENT opened, in April 1996 at the Nederlander, was the year I turned 13. I’m sure that, even if I live in New York, I wouldn’t be able to see it, although I know people at that age watched it. Open as we are in the family, I wouldn’t have understood the musical and would probably need some explaining. When RENT became one of the yearly adapted productions in the Philippines, 1999, I started senior year and there were a lot of expenses, and we don’t have that much money because my sister and I weren’t working yet. So, in 2010, when it was staged again, my mum treated us to it as a Valentine’s and a going-away-for-a-while gift knowing that we really love the show. It was revived in Broadway last year.
It saddens me that this landmark for the RENTheads will be closing. If and when I go to New York, I won’t be able to go and enjoy and pretend that I’m part of the La Vie Boheme scene. I hope that the Broadway revival will hold a fundraiser so that the Life Cafe will stay open. I want to see it standing there in all its glory when I travel one day to Alphabet City.