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More about Rent the Musical.
The winner of four Tony Awards, the revolutionary Rent still sells out theaters worldwide. Rent opened on January 26, 1996, off-Broadway in New York City before moving to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996. With over 5000 performances, it is the seventh longest-running Broadway show and the production has grossed over $280 million.
Rent was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won four including Best Musical. It also won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, The Obie Award, the Tony Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Rent also landed a cover of Newsweek and was regarded as a "breakthrough" by The New York Times. The show has created somewhat of a cult movement, with many fans attending the show dozens of times.
Music and lyrics were written by Jonathan Larson who spent years creating his first and only musical. Sadly, however, Larson never got to see the success of his show because it was only one week before Rent's first preview that Larson suffered an aortic aneurysm and died.
Larson's musical tells the story of a group of poor young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create art in New York 's Lower East Side in the flourishing days of the Bohemian East Village . It was all, however, was under the shadow of AIDS.
Larson's inspiration for Rent came from a number of different sources. Several of the characters and plot elements are drawn from Giacomo Puccini's opera 'La Bohème', which premiered 100 years before Rent opened on stage. Like Rent, La Bohème was about the lives of poor young artists and the plague of Puccini's opera was tuberculosis, and in Rent it is replaced by AIDS.
Also, 1800's Paris is replaced by New York 's East Village in the late 1980s. Many of the characters names and identities are also heavily reflected Puccini's original characters. Rent is also, to some extent, an autobiographical work. Larson included many elements of his own life into his show. For example, he lived in New York for many years as a starving artist with an unsure future because he sacrificed a life of stability for his art and as a result he shared many of the same hopes and fears as his characters.
Like his characters in Rent, he lived in poor conditions, such as an illegal wood-burning stove, a bathtub in the middle of his kitchen, and having a broken buzzer in which his guests had to call from the pay phone across the street and he would throw down the keys.
Rent was one of the first Broadway musicals to feature homosexual and bisexual characters as well as a cast that was uncommonly ethnically diverse. It brought up controversial topics to a customarily conservative group and it also introduced a new kind of musical theater to a younger generation.
Rent was even adapted into a movie in 2005 that featured most of the original cast members. Throughout the past few years, Rent has performed to fans throughout North America as well as England , Japan , Australia , Germany and many other countries, making it a global phenomenon.
The Rent Pantages Theater performances were one of the most successful theater run's in Los Angeles history right behind The Book of Mormon shows.
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