RENT: L-R: Mario as Benjamin Coffin III, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins and Valentina as Angel Dumont Schunard in RENT airing Sunday, Jan. 27 (8:00-11:00 ET/PT) on FOX. ©2019 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Pamela Littky/FOX
(Photo by Pamela Littky/FOX)

TV Musical Adaptations by Tomatometer

If we’ve learned anything from networks’ recent fixation on televised musicals, high ratings do not always equal standing ovations. In fact, only three musical productions from the past few years received high marks on Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer: NBC’s The Wiz Live!, Fox’s Grease: Live!, and NBC’s Hairspray Live!. And no, this isn’t because of the power of the exclamation mark — NBC musicals Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! are both on the Rotten end of this list.

Unfortunately, Fox’s latest live musical attempt didn’t live up to its predecessor. Rent couldn’t hold a candle to either Grease: Live! or the highest-rated recent TV musical of all, NBC’s Easter Sunday 2018 production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, starring John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas.

The caveat: Rent, which starred Jordan Fisher as Mark, Brennin Hunt, Tinashe as Mimi, Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen, Dixon as Tom Collins, Valentina as Angel, Kiersey Clemons as Joanne, and Mario as Benny, wasn’t actually performed as planned. After star Hunt broke his foot during the show’s final dress rehearsal, producers chose to air the rehearsal footage until the grand finale (which was performed actually live). Critics cited performances from Jesus Christ Superstar breakout Dixon and Grease breakout Hudgens as highlights, but some couldn’t get past the fact that the final production wasn’t actually broadcast.

Check out where Rent‘s not-quite-live production lands among TV’s recent musicals, both live and taped (like Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dirty Dancing).

#1
Adjusted Score: 100.22%
Critics Consensus: Shaking up traditional religious and musical iconography, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is a sight to be heard, superbly infiltrating the classic source material with originality, rock legend star power, and soulful depth.

#2

Grease: Live! (2016)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 92.524%
Critics Consensus: Grease: Live took the pressure and threw away conventionality -- it belongs to yesterday. There was a chance that it could make it so far; we started believin' we can be who we are. Grease: Live is the word.
Synopsis: The first-ever live television production of "Grease" will re-imagine and reintroduce some of the most memorable moments, great music and... [More]

#3

The Wiz Live! (2015)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91.374%
Critics Consensus: The Wiz Live! is several notches above NBC's other musical broadcasts thanks to bold performances and large-scale production pieces.
Synopsis: NBC embarks on its latest musical holiday tradition: a 3-hour LIVE event production of the groundbreaking Broadway show that brought... [More]

#4

Hairspray Live! (2016)
76%

#4
Adjusted Score: 76.059%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray Live! shimmers with outstanding performances, an engaging story, and songs that let its stars shine.
Synopsis: A teenage girl living in Baltimore in the early 1960s dreams of appearing on a popular TV dance show.... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Leon, Alex Rudzinski

#5

The Passion (2016)
60%

#5
Adjusted Score: 12.704%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tyler Perry narrates a musical portrait of the last days of Jesus Christ, from the Last Supper to the Resurrection,... [More]
Directed By:

#6

Peter Pan Live! (2014)
56%

#6
Adjusted Score: 43.191%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Preparing to sprinkle fairy dust across America, NBC presents a bold new LIVE television production of the classic Broadway musical... [More]
Directed By:

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 29.489%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer star in the live telecast of a beloved family classic, based on the original Broadway... [More]

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 27.687%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and perhaps a little too faithful, A Christmas Story Live! can't quite capture the holiday spirit of its source material.
Synopsis: From Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television, A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE! is inspired by the holiday classic feature "A Christmas... [More]
Directed By: Alex Rudzinski

#9

Rent Live (2019)
27%

#9
Adjusted Score: 27.124%
Critics Consensus: Despite the show's earnest intentions, Rent Live's clumsy production and pre-recorded broadcast render it an underwhelming "live" musical event.
Synopsis: A re-imagining of Puccini's "La Bohème," and set in New York City's gritty East Village, "Rent" tells the unforgettable story... [More]
Directed By: Alex Rudzinski

#10
Adjusted Score: 28.694%
Critics Consensus: Laverne Cox's fabulous portrayal of Frank N. Furter leads a strong ensemble effort, but the stars can't infuse this reimagining with enough energy, creativity, and quirk to make TRHPS: Let's Do the Time Warp Again a worthwhile endeavor.
Synopsis: A reimagining of the cult film that follows a young couple as they end up at a strange convention hosted... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#11

Dirty Dancing (2017)
19%

#11
Adjusted Score: 18.35%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the 1987 box-office smash about an innocent teen vacationing with her parents at an upscale resort in the... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Blair


Watch Rent Full Performances

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