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Fox sets Rent and A Christmas Story as its next live musicals

Photo: John Snelling / Getty Images
Photo: John Snelling / Getty Images

The live TV musical train will continue to run on a nostalgic track, as Fox announces that its next staged broadcasts will be the ‘90s Broadway megahit Rent and a musical based on the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story. The network hasn’t announced an exact date or cast for Rent, but it says A Christmas Story will arrive in December of this year.

Adapted from Puccini’s La Boheme by composer and playwright Jonathan Larson—who died the morning of the show’s first off-Broadway preview performance—Rent debuted at the New York Theatre Workshop before moving to the Broadway stage in April 1996. It ran for 12 years and 5,123 performances, making it the 11th-longest running Broadway show of all time. As anyone who was even moderately high school theater-adjacent in the ’90s or early ‘00s remembers quite well, the musical revolves around the lives and loves of a group of diverse young artists in Manhattan’s East Village in the shadow of the AIDS crisis. The show won a Pulitzer Prize and a whole mess of Tonys, the two-disc original Broadway cast recording sold more than 2 million copies, and it was made into a feature film in 2005.

Fox’s live version of the musical will be executive produced by Grease: Live’s Marc Platt, working in cooperation with Larson’s estate.

Meanwhile, based on Bob Clark’s beloved 1983 film—itself an adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash—the musical version of A Christmas Story first hit stages in 2012. Beyond our national affections for Ovaltine, Red Ryder BB Guns, and proper eye protection, the musical carries a suddenly resurgent pedigree; it was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won an Oscar this year for their songwriting work on La La Land. (Fox also reports they’ll be penning several new songs for the three-hour TV production.) Meanwhile, Marc Platt—another La La Land vet, who also worked on the network’s “Grease: Live”—is set to produce.

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