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Rent (musical)

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Nederlander-theatre-rent.jpg
David Nederlander Theatre during the run of Rent.

Rent is a Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical, based upon Puccini's opera La bohème. Rent opened in New York City on April 29, 1996 at the Nederlander Theatre and continues to play on Broadway (the 8th-longest running Broadway musical as of May 3, 2005). The musical centers around a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive in New York's Alphabet City neighborhood under the shadow of AIDS. (In the opera, the disease was tuberculosis).

The score included the songs "Seasons of Love", "Rent (song)", "One Song Glory", "Light My Candle", "Tango: Maureen", "I'll Cover You", "Without You", "La Vie Boheme", and "Santa Fe". The resulting cast album from the show was the most successful recording of an American musical in almost 30 years, featuring both a 2-disc, "complete recordings" collection, a version of the song "Seasons of Love" featuring Stevie Wonder, and a 1-disc "best of" highlights.

The musical was conceived by Jonathan Larson, a 35-year-old composer who died from an undiagnosed dissecting aortic aneurysm on January 25, 1996, just a few hours before the musical made its debut at the New York Theatre Workshop. It is believed that the defect resulted from Marfan syndrome.

At the time, Rent was rare among Broadway musicals in that it featured some of the first clearly gay and lesbian characters on stage. While a commonly-held stereotype is of a higher proportion of gay people in theater, almost every previous production which dealt with such issues had generally been relegated to off-Broadway venues (an exception is La Cage aux Folles).

Contents

Awards

In 1996, Rent won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Actor Wilson Jermaine Heredia won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Angel.

Additionally, actors Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Idina Menzel were nominated (but did not win) in the Leading Actor, Leading Actress, and Featured Actress in a Musical categories (for their portrayals of Roger, Mimi, and Maureen, respectively). The show itself was nominated for, but did not win, Tonys for its lighting design (Blake Burba), choreography (Marlies Yearby), and direction (Michael Greif).

Musical numbers

Act One:

  • Tune Up/Voice Mail #1
  • Rent
  • You Okay Honey?
  • One Song Glory
  • Light My Candle
  • Voice Mail #2
  • Today 4 U
  • You'll See
  • Tango: Maureen
  • Life Support
  • Out Tonight
  • Another Day
  • Will I?
  • On the Street
  • Santa Fe
  • We're Okay
  • I'll Cover You
  • Christmas Bells
  • Over the Moon
  • La Vie Boheme/I Should Tell You

Act 2

  • Seasons of Love
  • Happy New Year/Voice Mail #3
  • Take Me or Leave Me
  • Without You
  • Voice Mail #4
  • Contact
  • I'll Cover You (Reprise)
  • Halloween
  • Goodbye, Love
  • What You Own
  • Voice Mail #5
  • Finale/Your Eyes

Theatrical run

The original cast, as appeared in the Broadway production from April 16, 1996 through opening night and a little after, and the album recording, was as follows:

There have been three very successful United States national tours, plus various international productions.

In order to provide theatergoing opportunities to those who might otherwise be unable to afford them, the first two rows of the theater (on Broadway and on tour) are reserved for sale by rush (first-come, first-serve, or lottery) two hours before the show for $20 per seat.

Cultural impact

The musical Rent has been mentioned elsewhere in pop culture, including (but not limited to) the cartoons The Simpsons, Family Guy, the 2004 movie Team America: World Police, the puppet musical Avenue Q, the off-Broadway satiric review Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back and the television show "Friends".

Movie

Rent is being adapted into a movie, filmed on location in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Santa Fe with a US release date of November 11, 2005. Chris Columbus is directing, with Diggs, Heredia, Martin, Menzel, Pascal, and Rapp reprising their roles. Rosario Dawson has been cast for the role of Mimi and Tracie Thoms for the role of Joanne. Principal photography has wrapped and the film is now in post-production.

See: Rent (movie)

External link

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