Harman Patil (Editor)

Rent (musical)

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Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson

First performance

Jonathan Larson

Rent (musical) t1gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcSIWYa73BSZveegyE

La Bohèmeby Giacomo Puccini

1993 Workshop1996 Off-Broadway1996 Broadway1996 Angel Tour1997 Benny Tour1997 Collins Tour1998 West End1998 Tokyo1998 Sydney1999 Mexico City1999 São Paulo1999 Barcelona2000 Dublin2001 UK Tour2001 Non-Equity Tour2001 West End2002 Gothenburg2005 International Tour2005 Film2007 West End2008 Buenos Aires2009 US Tour2010 Hollywood Bowl2011 Off-Broadway2016 Barcelona2016 20th-Anniversary US Tour2016 20th-Anniversary UK Tour2016 São Paulo

Pulitzer Prize for DramaTony Award for Best MusicalTony Award for Best Book of a MusicalTony Award for Best Original ScoreDrama Desk Award for Outstanding MusicalDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a MusicalDrama Desk Award for Outstanding MusicDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics

Mimi, Joanne Jefferson, Benjamin Coffin III

Jonathan Larson, Billy Aronson

Wicked, Les Misérables, Next to Normal, Tick - Tick Boom!, Spring Awakening

Rent is a rock musical with music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson, loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.


The musical was first seen in a workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1993. This same Off-Broadway theatre was also the musical's initial home following its official 1996 opening. The show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, the night before the Off-Broadway premiere. The show won a Pulitzer Prize, and the production was a hit. The musical moved to Broadway's larger Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996.

On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008 after a 12-year run of 5,123 performances. On February 14, 2016, the musical Wicked surpassed Rent's number of performances with a 2pm matinee, pushing Rent from the tenth- to eleventh-longest-running Broadway show. The production grossed over $280 million.

The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions. In 2005, it was adapted into a motion picture featuring most of the original cast members.

Rent 1996 tony awards

Concept and genesis

In 1988, playwright Billy Aronson wanted to create "a musical based on Puccini's La Bohème, in which the luscious splendor of Puccini's world would be replaced with the coarseness and noise of modern New York." In 1989, Jonathan Larson, a 29-year-old composer, began collaborating with Aronson on this project, and the two composed together "Santa Fe", "Splatter" (later re-worked into the song "Rent"), and "I Should Tell You". Larson suggested setting the play "amid poverty, homelessness, spunky gay life, drag queens and punk" in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, which happened to be down the street from his Greenwich Village apartment. He also came up with the show's ultimate title (a decision that Aronson was unhappy with, at least until Larson pointed out that "rent" also means torn apart). In 1991, he asked Aronson if he could use Aronson's original concept and make Rent his own. Larson had ambitious expectations for Rent; his ultimate dream was to write a rock opera "to bring musical theater to the MTV generation." Aronson and Larson made an agreement that if the show went to Broadway, Aronson would share in the proceeds and be given credit for "original concept & additional lyrics".

Jonathan Larson focused on composing Rent in the early 1990s, waiting tables at the Moondance Diner to support himself. Over the course of years, Larson wrote hundreds of songs and made many drastic changes to the show, which in its final incarnation contained 42 songs. In the fall of 1992, Larson approached James Nicola, artistic director of New York Theatre Workshop, with a tape and copy of Rent's script. When Rent had its first staged reading at New York Theatre Workshop in March 1993, it became evident that, despite its very promising material and moving musical numbers, many structural problems needed to be addressed, including its cumbersome length and overly complex plot.

As of 1994, the New York Theatre Workshop version of Rent featured songs that never made it to the final version, such as:

  • "You're A Fool"
  • "Do A Little Business", the predecessor of "You'll See," featuring Benny, Mark, Roger, Collins, and Angel
  • "Female to Female A & B," featuring Maureen and Joanne
  • "He's A Fool"
  • "He Says"
  • "Right Brain", later rewritten as "One Song Glory", featuring Roger
  • "You'll Get Over It", the predecessor of "Tango: Maureen," featuring Mark and Maureen
  • "Real Estate", a number wherein Benny tries to convince Mark to become a real estate agent and drop his filmmaking
  • "Open Road", the predecessor of "What You Own", with a backing track similar to this in "Your Eyes"
  • This workshop version of Rent starred Anthony Rapp as Mark and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi. Larson continued to work on Rent, gradually reworking its flaws and staging more workshop productions.

    On January 24, 1996, after the musical's final dress rehearsal before its off-Broadway opening, Larson had his first (and only) newspaper interview with music critic Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times, attracted by the coincidence that the show was debuting exactly 100 years after Puccini's opera. Larson would not live to see Rent's success; he died from an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm (believed to have resulted from Marfan syndrome) in the early morning of January 25, 1996. The first preview of Rent was canceled and instead, friends and family gathered at the theater where the actors performed a sing-through of Rent in Larson's memory. The show premiered as planned and quickly gained popularity fueled by enthusiastic reviews and the recent death of its composer. It proved extremely successful during its off-Broadway run, selling out all its shows at the 150-seat New York Theater Workshop. Due to such overwhelming popularity and a need for a larger theater, Rent moved to Broadway's recently remodeled Nederlander Theatre on 41st Street on April 29, 1996.

    Act One

    On Christmas Eve in Manhattan's East Village, two roommates—Mark, a filmmaker, and Roger, a rock musician—struggle to stay warm and produce their art (Tune Up #1). Their friend Collins, a gay anarchist ivy league tutor, leaves them a voicemail and plans to surprise them at their apartment, but is mugged before entering (Voice Mail #1). At the same time, Roger and Mark's former roommate Benny, who has since become their harsh new landlord, has reneged on an earlier agreement and now demands last year's rent, before shutting down their electrical power (Tune Up #2). However, Mark and Roger rebel and pledge to not pay the rent they were promised not to have to pay (Rent). Meanwhile, a cross-dressing street drummer (currently out of drag) named Angel finds Collins wounded in an alley and tends to him (You Okay, Honey?). The two are immediately attracted to each other, and learn that they are both HIV positive. Roger also has HIV, along with his last girlfriend, who committed suicide. Mark goes looking for Collins (Tune Up #3), while Roger dreams of writing one song before he dies (One Song Glory). An exotic dancer, junkie, and neighbor, Mimi, walks in to flirt with Roger, who is hesitant to start a new relationship (Light My Candle). Joanne, a lawyer, receives a voicemail from her parents (Voice Mail #2).

    At last, the missing Collins enters the apartment, presenting Angel, who is now in full drag and shares the money she made and the amusing story of how she killed a dog to earn it (Today 4 U). Benny arrives, speaking of Maureen's upcoming protest against his plans to evict the homeless from a lot where he is hoping to build a cyber arts studio. Benny offers that, if they convince Maureen to cancel the protest, then they can officially remain rent-free tenants. However, the two rebuff Benny's offer and he leaves (You'll See). Mark must leave to fix Maureen's sound equipment for the protest, but he meets Joanne at the stage. They overcome their awkwardness by connecting over their shared distrust of Maureen's promiscuous behaviors (Tango: Maureen). Mark joins his friends to film their HIV support-group meeting (Life Support), while Mimi attempts to seduce Roger alone in the apartment (Out Tonight). Roger is clearly upset by Mimi's intrusion and he ask her to leave him alone (Another Day). After Mimi leaves, Roger reflects on his fear of dying from AIDS, while the life-support group echoes his thoughts (Will I?).

    Collins, Mark, and Angel protect a homeless woman from police harassment, but she chastises them (On the Street). Collins talks about his dream of escaping New York City to open a restaurant in Santa Fe (Santa Fe). Soon, Collins and Angel confess their love for each other (I'll Cover You). Joanne hectically prepares for Maureen's show, while trying to balance all of the people calling her (We're Okay). Roger apologizes to Mimi, inviting her to come to the protest and the dinner afterwards. Police, vendors, and homeless people prepare for the protest (Christmas Bells). Maureen begins her avant-garde, if not over the top, performance based on "Hey Diddle Diddle" (Over the Moon). At Life Café after the show, Benny criticizes the protest and the group's bohemian lifestyle. In response, Mark and all the café's bohemian patrons defiantly rise up to celebrate their lifestyle (La Vie Boheme). Mimi and Roger each discover that the other is HIV-positive and decide to move forward with their relationship (I Should Tell You). Joanne explains that Mark and Roger's building has been padlocked and a riot has broken out, just before Roger and Mimi share their first kiss. Everyone continues to celebrate their lifestyle (La Vie Boheme B).

    Act Two

    The cast lines up to sing together before the plot of the second act begins (Seasons of Love). Afterwards, Mark and Roger gather to break back into their locked apartment with their friends (Happy New Year). A new voicemail reveals that Mark's footage of the riot has earned him a job offering at a tabloid news company (Voice Mail #3). The others continue and finally break through the door just as Benny arrives, saying he wants to call a truce, revealing that Mimi, a former girlfriend of his, convinced him to change his mind. Mimi denies rekindling her relationship with Benny, but Roger is upset, and Mimi goes to her drug dealer for a fix (Happy New Year B).

    Around Valentine's Day, Mark tells the audience that Roger and Mimi have been living together, but they are tentative with each other. It is also told that Maureen and Joanne are preparing another protest, and during rehearsal, Maureen cites Joanne's controlling behavior and Joanne cites Maureen's promiscuous mannerisms, and they break up dramatically coming up with an ultimatum (Take Me or Leave Me). Time speeds on to spring (Seasons of Love B), but Roger and Mimi's relationship is strained by her escalating heroin usage and Roger's lasting jealousy and suspicion of Benny. Each alone, Roger and Mimi sing of love and loneliness, telling each other how they feel, as they watch Collins nurse Angel, whose health is declining from AIDS (Without You). Mark continues to receive calls offering a corporate job at a tabloid television show (Voice Mail #4). The couples have devolved into on-and-off relationships. A dance is performed representing all the couples' sex-lives (Contact). At the climax of the number, the two former couples break up, and Angel suddenly dies. At the funeral, the friends briefly come together to share their memories with Collins being the last to reminisce (I'll Cover You [Reprise]). Mark expresses his fear of being the only one left surviving when the rest of his friends die of AIDS, and he finally accepts the corporate job offer (Halloween). Roger reveals that he is leaving for Santa Fe, which sparks an argument about commitment between him and Mimi, and between Maureen and Joanne. Collins arrives and admonishes the entire group for fighting on the day of Angel's funeral, causing Maureen and Joanne to reconcile, but not Mimi and Roger. Collins is forcibly removed from the church for being unable to pay for Angel's funeral. Benny shows compassion by paying, causing him and Collins to recuperate their old friendship. The group shares a sad moment, knowing that between deaths and leaving, their close-knit friendships will be breaking up (Goodbye Love).

    Months later, both Mark and Roger are simultaneously reaching an artistic epiphany, as Roger finds his song in Mimi and Mark finds his film in Angel's memory. Roger returns to New York just in time for Christmas, and Mark quits his job to work on his own film once more (What You Own). The characters' parents leave several messages on their phones (Voicemail #5), and on Christmas Eve, exactly one year having passed, Mark prepares to screen his now-completed film to his friends. Roger has written his song, but no one can find Mimi for him to play it to. Benny's wife, discovering Benny's relationship with Mimi, has pulled Benny out of the East Village; the power suddenly blows and Collins enters with handfuls of cash, revealing that he reprogrammed an ATM at a grocery store to provide money to anybody with the code (A-N-G-E-L). Maureen and Joanne abruptly enter carrying Mimi, who has been homeless and is now weak and close to death. She begins to fade, but not before telling Roger that she loves him (Finale A). Roger tells her to hold on as he plays her the song he wrote for her, which reveals the depths of his feelings for her (Your Eyes). Mimi appears to die, but abruptly awakens, claiming to have been heading into a white light, except that a vision of Angel told her to go back. The remaining friends gather together in a final moment of shared happiness and resolve to enjoy whatever time they have left with each other, affirming that there is "no day but today" (Finale B).

    Main characters

  • Mark Cohen (Lead): A struggling Jewish-American documentary filmmaker and the narrator of the show. He is Roger's roommate; at the start of the show, he was recently dumped by Maureen.
  • Roger Davis (Lead): A once-successful-but-now-struggling musician and ex-lead singer and rock guitarist who is HIV-positive and an ex-junkie. He hopes to write one last meaningful song before he dies. He is having a hard time coping with the fact that he, along with many others around him, knows that he is going to die. His girlfriend, April, killed herself after finding out that she was HIV-positive. He is roommates with Mark.
  • Mimi Márquez (Lead): A Hispanic-American club dancer and drug addict. She lives downstairs from Mark and Roger, is Roger's love interest, and, like him, has HIV. She is also Benny's ex-lover.
  • Tom Collins (Support): An anarchist professor with AIDS. He is described by Mark as a "computer genius, teacher, and vagabond anarchist who ran naked through the Parthenon." Collins dreams of opening a restaurant in Santa Fe, where the problems in New York will not affect him and his friends. He was formerly a roommate of Roger, Mark, Benny, and Maureen, then just Roger and Mark, until he moves out.
  • Angel Dumott Schunard (Support): A young transgender woman/drag queen who uses both she/her and he/him pronouns. Angel is a street percussionist with a generous disposition, who has AIDS; Collins' love interest.
  • Maureen Johnson (Support): A performance artist who is Mark's ex-girlfriend and Joanne's current girlfriend. She is very flirtatious and cheated on Mark (presumably with Joanne). Larson considered Maureen a lesbian, despite her relationships with men, and he specifically identified her as "lesbian" in the script itself. However, an old lesbian friend of Larson told him it was wrong to call Maureen a lesbian because of her attraction to men, and that is where the idea of her being a bisexual started.
  • Joanne Jefferson (Support): An Ivy League-educated public interest lawyer and a lesbian. Joanne is the woman for whom Maureen left Mark. Joanne has very politically powerful parents (one is undergoing confirmation to be a judge, the other is a government official).
  • Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III (Support): Landlord of Mark, Roger, and Mimi's apartment building and ex-roommate of Mark, Collins, Roger, and Maureen. Now married to Alison Grey of the Westport Greys, a very wealthy family involved in real estate, and he is considered yuppie scum and a sell-out by his ex-roommates. He at one time had a relationship with Mimi.
  • Minor characters

  • Mrs. Cohen: Mark's stereotypical Jewish mother. Her voicemail messages are the basis for the songs Voicemail #1, Voicemail #3, and Voicemail #5.
  • Alexi Darling: The producer of Buzzline, a sleazy tabloid company that tries to employ Mark after his footage of the riot makes primetime. Sings Voicemail #3 and Voicemail #4.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson: The wealthy parents of Joanne Jefferson, they leave her Voicemail #2. Mr. Jefferson is also one of the a cappella singers in Voicemail #5. Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson usually sing the solos in Seasons of Love.
  • Mrs. Davis: Roger's confused mother who calls in Voicemail #5, asking continuously, "Roger, where are you?"
  • Mrs. Marquez: Mimi's Spanish-speaking mother who sings in Voicemail #5, wondering, in Spanish, where she is.
  • Mr. Grey: Benny's father-in-law who wants to buy out the lot.
  • The Man: The local drug dealer whom Mimi buys from and Roger use to buy from. Based on the character Parpignol from La Bohème.
  • Paul: The man in charge of the Life Support group.
  • Gordon: One of the Life Support members.
  • Steve: One of the Life Support members.
  • Ali: One of the Life Support members
  • Pam: One of the Life Support members
  • Sue: One of the Life Support members.
  • As notated in the script by Larson, the roles of all of the Life Support members are encouraged to take on the name that someone in the cast (or production) knows or has known to have succumbed to AIDS. In the final Broadway performance, Sue is renamed Lisa.
  • Squeegee Man: A homeless person who chants "Honest living!" over and over during "Christmas Bells".
  • The Waiter: A waiter at Life Cafe.
  • The Woman With Bags or Homeless Woman: A woman who attacks Mark for trying to help her during "On The Street".
  • The Preacher or The Pastor: The Preacher kicks Collins out of the church because he can't pay for Angel's funeral.
  • There are also many other non-named roles such as Cops, Bohemians, Vendors, Homeless People.


    Critical reception of Rent was positive not only for its acting and musical components, but for its representation of HIV positive individuals. Many critics praised the portrayal of characters such as Angel and Collins as being happy, with positive outlooks on life, rather than being resigned to death. While critics and theatre patrons had largely positive reviews of the show, criticism was given to the show for the stereotypically negative portrayal of lesbian characters and the "glamourization" of the East Village in the late 1980s.

    Billy Aronson said, "For the record, although I was ambivalent about Jonathan’s ideas for Rent when we were working together on it, I have come to love the show. And as tragic as it is that he didn’t live to see his work become a huge success, I believe he knew it would be. In our last conversation I asked how the show was going and he said, with complete assurance, that it was incredible."

    Cultural impact and legacy

    The song "Seasons of Love" became a successful pop song and often is performed on its own. Because of its connection to New Years and looking back at times past, it is sometimes performed at graduations or school holiday programs.


    Rent gathered a following of fans who refer to themselves as "RENT-heads." The name originally referred to people who would camp out at the Nederlander Theater for hours in advance for the discounted $20 rush tickets to each show, though it generally refers to anyone who is obsessed with the show. These discounted tickets were for seats in the first two rows of the theater reserved for sale by lottery two hours prior to each show. Other Broadway shows have followed Rent's example and now also offer cheaper tickets in efforts to make Broadway theater accessible to people who would otherwise be unable to afford the ticket prices.

    The term originated in Rent's first months on Broadway. The show's producers offered 34 seats in the front two rows of the orchestra for $20 each, two hours before the performance. Fans and others interested in tickets would camp out for hours in front of the Nederlander Theater – which is on 41st Street, just outside Times Square – to buy these tickets.

    The television series The Simpsons, Family Guy, Friends, Will and Grace, Scrubs, Glee, The Big Bang Theory, Gilmore Girls, Felicity, Saturday Night Live, The Office, Franklin & Bash, 2 Broke Girls, Girls, Seinfeld, The Neighbors, Modern Family, Smash, Supernatural, and Bob's Burgers have included references to the show.

    The film Team America: World Police includes a character who plays a lead role in Lease, a Broadway musical parody of Rent; the finale song is "Everyone has AIDS!". Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch wears a Rent T-shirt and speaks of his aspiration to play the role of Angel.

    The off-Broadway musical revue Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back includes parodies of Rent songs such as "Rant" ("Rent"), "Ouch! They're Tight" ("Out Tonight"), "Season of Hype" ("Seasons of Love"), "Too Gay 4 U (Too Het'ro 4 Me)" ("Today 4 U"), "Pretty Voices Singing" ("Christmas Bells") and "This Ain't Boheme" ("La Vie Bohème").

    In the film Deadpool, Wade Wilson is seen wearing a Rent T-shirt.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer and writer of the Broadway show Hamilton, has cited Rent as a main source of inspiration. He also referenced the show in a verse of the song "Wrote My Way Out" on The Hamilton Mixtape in the line "Running out of time like I'm Jonathan Larson's rent cheque".

    New York workshops and off-Broadway production

    Rent had its first staged reading at New York Theatre Workshop in March 1993. A further two-week New York Theatre Workshop version was performed in 1994 starring Anthony Rapp as Mark and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi, and more workshops followed. The show opened on 1996, again at New York Theatre Workshop, and quickly gained popularity off-Broadway, receiving enthusiastic reviews. The New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley called it an "exhilarating, landmark rock opera" with a "glittering, inventive score" that "shimmers with hope for the future of the American musical." Another reviewer wrote, "Rent speaks to Generation X the way that the musical Hair spoke to the baby boomers or those who grew up in the 1960s," while the New York Times similarly called it "a rock opera for our time, a Hair for the 90s." The show proved extremely successful off-Broadway, selling out all of its performances at the 150-seat theatre.

    Original Broadway production

    Due to its overwhelming popularity and the need for a larger theater, Rent moved to Broadway's previously derelict Nederlander Theatre on 41st Street on April 29, 1996. On Broadway, the show achieved critical acclaim and word-of-mouth popularity. The production's ethnically diverse principal cast originally included Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker.

    The production's controversial topics and innovative pricing, including same day-of-performance $20 tickets, helped to increase the popularity of musical theater amongst the younger generation. The production was nominated for ten Tony Awards in 1996 and won four: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Heredia)

    On April 24, 2006, the original Broadway cast reunited for a one-night performance of the musical at the Nederlander Theatre. This performance raised over $2,000,000 for the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, Friends In Deed and New York Theatre Workshop. Former cast members were invited, and many from prior tours and former Broadway casts appeared, performing an alternate version of "Seasons of Love" as the finale of the performance.

    Rent closed on September 7, 2008, after a 12-year run and 5,123 performances, making it the eleventh-longest-running Broadway show. The production grossed over $280 million.

    Original cast ensemble members Rodney Hicks and Gwen Stewart returned to the cast at the time of the Broadway closing. Hicks played Benny and Stewart played the role she created, the soloist in the song "Seasons of Love". In addition, actress Tracie Thoms joined the cast at the end of the run playing Joanne, the role she portrayed in the 2005 film version. The last Broadway performance was filmed and screened in movie theaters as Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway in September 2008. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray formats on February 3, 2009.

    Early North American tours

    Successful United States national tours, the "Angel Tour" and the "Benny Tour", launched in the 1990s. Later, the non-Equity tour started its run. There was also a Canadian tour (often referred to as the "Collins Tour").

    The Angel tour began in November 1996 in Boston. It then went on to St. Paul, Minnesota, Washington, DC, Chicago (where Anthony Rapp temporarily joined the cast), Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Los Angeles (where Daphne Rubin-Vega temporarily joined the cast), before finishing in San Francisco in September 1999. Cast members appearing in the Angel Cast included Simone, Manley Pope, Christian Anderson, Carrie Hamilton, Amy Spanger, Joshua J. Greene, Evan D'Angeles, Cheri Smith, J. Marshall Evans, Julie Danao, Sylvia MacCalla, Kamilah Martin, Jonathon Morgan, Luther Creek, Kristoffer Cusick, Tony Vincent, Courtney Corey, and Shaun Earl.

    The Benny Tour began in July 1997 in San Diego, CA at the LaJolla Playhouse. Michael Grief, the original director of the Broadway show was also the artistic director of the LaJolla Playhouse and was instrumental in arranging for the Benny tour to begin in the smaller city of San Diego rather than Los Angeles, CA. It originally featured Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Mark Cohen. The Benny tour generally played shorter stops and often-smaller markets than the Angel Tour did. Cast members appearing in the Benny Cast included Eric Reed, Wilson Cruz, Julia Santana as Mimi, Keely Snelson, d'Monroe, Mark Lull, Courtney Corey, Pierre Angelo Bayuga and Jonathon Morgan. 1999 – 2001 tenure included Julia Santana, Maggie Benjamin (Maureen, September 2000 – July 15, 2001), Scott Hunt (Mark), Tricia Young (Alexi), Haven Burton (Mrs. Cohen), Joshua J. Greene, etc...

    2000 Irish production

    The Dublin production had an extended run at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin in 2000 it starred Sean Pol McGreevy as Mark, Samuel Nicholl as Roger Rachel Tucker as Maureen, Jacqui Dubois as Joanne, Mykal Rand as Collins, Thomas Goodridge as Angel and Allyson Brown as Mimi under the direction of Phil Willmot. The show returned to Dublin in 2009, this time performed by students of Dublin City University's Drama Society at The Helix Theatre, which then moved to the Olympia Theatre, Dublin for a short run due to high demand. DCU's Drama Society mounted another production of the show in April 2013 at The Helix Theatre.

    2002–2003 Swedish production

    The 2002–2003 Swedish production premiered on May 15, 2002 at The Göteborg Opera in Gothenburg, Sweden. Cast included: Jacob Stadell as Mark, Fredrik Swahn as Roger, Thérèse Andersson as Mimi, Anna Widing as Maureen, Sarah Dawn Finer as Joanne, Conny Bäckström as Angel, Daniel Engman as Collins and Magnus Sjögren as Benny. The show was directed by Nick Bye and ended on June 8, 2003.

    2005–2008 U.S. touring companies

    Tours ran each season from 2005 to 2008. Cast members included: Aaron Tveit, Ava Gaudet, Danny Calvert, Bryce Ryness, LaDonna Burns, Jed Resnick, Warren G. Nolan, Michael Ifill, Ano Okera, Arianda Fernandez, Tracy McDowell, Chante-Carmel Frierson, Nina Metrick, Sheila Coyle, Aswad, Altamiece' Ballard, Ben Rosberry, Gavin Reign, Mike Evariste, Declan Bennett, Harley Jay, Melvin Bell III, Kristen-Alexzander Griffith, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Jennifer Colby Talton, Douglas Lyons, Dan Rosenbaum, Jenna Noel, Cedric Leiba, Jr., Samuel L. Krauth, Jade Hicks, Mimi Jimenez, Joe Donohoe, Dustin Brayley, Aaron LaVigne, Heinz Winckler, Anwar Robinson, John Watson, Onyie Nwachukwu, Corey Mach, Lou Troche, Christine Dwyer, Karen Olivo, Hannah Shankman, Damien DeShaun Smith, Devon Settles Jr., Natalie R. Perkins, Enrico Banson, Tim Ehrlich, Jeff Cuttler, Christina Sajous, Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, and Stephanie Spano. The tour stopped in many cities including Knoxville and Chicago.

    UK productions

    The show made its UK premiere on April 21, 1998 at the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre and officially opened on May 12, 1998. The original cast included Krysten Cummings as Mimi Marquez, Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel Schunard, Bonny Lockhart as Benjamin Coffin III, Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins, Adam Pascal as Roger Davis, Anthony Rapp as Mark Cohen, and Jessica Tezier as Maureen Johnson. The show closed on October 30, 1999 after one-and-a-half years. Limited revivals took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre from December 4, 2001 to January 6, 2002; December 6, 2002 to March 1, 2003 (featuring Adam Rickett as Mark and Caprice as Maureen). There was also a successful production for a limited run in Manchester in 2006 with an additional 'goodbye' performance in 2008 from the Manchester cast.

    Rent: School Edition

    In 2007, a modified edition of Rent was made available to five non-professional acting groups in the United States for production. Billed as Rent: School Edition, this version omits the song "Contact" and eliminates some of the coarse language and tones down some public displays of affection of the original. Shorewood High School in Shorewood, WI became the first high school to perform an early version of the adaptation in May 2006. The high school was selected to present a workshop performance as part of Music Theatre International's work to adapt the musical for younger actors and potentially more conservative audiences.

    There were four test shows of the Rent: School Edition, the first of which premiered at the Stuart, Florida's Lyric Theater in June, 2007, produced by StarStruck Performing Arts Center. The original cast of the finalized version of the Rent: School Edition was in summer of 2007 at Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts camp.

    In November 2007, Harry S Truman High School in Levittown, PA performed Rent: School Edition on the high school stage, directed by Lou Volpe. Jonathan Larson's father was in attendance on closing night of the show.

    In June 2009, California Youth Conservatory Theatre, a San Diego-based youth theatre company which was originally licensed to perform Rent: School Edition, converted their performance license (through Music Theatre International) to the full-score version of Rent. This was the first production of the unedited Rent licensed and performed by a youth theatre group. This production was directed by Shaun T. Evans and co-directed by Karole Foreman. Rodney Hicks (from the original Broadway cast) was a guest artistic contributor to this production. On December 26, 2015, CYC began another run of the full version of Rent, again directed by Shaun T. Evan who co-starred as Collins.

    In June 2009, Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, CA became one of the first high schools in Los Angeles County to perform the School Edition successfully, though faced with many challenges and inquiries from the community. In June 2010, Hollywood High School in Hollywood, CA was the first high school to perform the original broadway version of Rent, including the song "Contact", which is omitted in the School Edition. In May 2012 the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, St Petersburg Florida performed the original broadway version of Rent.

    In March 2013, Hillsboro Comprehensive High School became the first high school in the Southeastern United States to perform the edited edition of "Rent", eighth in the nation overall.

    In November 2008, Sudbury Secondary School became the first high school to put on this production in a Canadian high school.

    In November 2015, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts had Fredi Walker-Browne perform "Seasons of Love" with the cast during previews and had a workshop with the cast.

    In 2016, Strathcona High School become the first high school to put on the original broadway production of Rent. It was performed without any omissions or changes to the original script.

    Rent Remixed

    On October 16, 2007, the production Rent Remixed opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End. Directed by William Baker, it was set in the present day. The cast included Oliver Thornton (Mark), Luke Evans (Roger), Craig Stein (Benny), Leon Lopez (Collins), Francesca Jackson (Joanne), Jay Webb (Angel), Siobhán Donaghy (Mimi), and Denise Van Outen (Maureen). From December 24, 2007, the role of Maureen was played by Jessie Wallace. The production received generally unfavorable reviews. The Guardian gave it only one out of five stars, writing, "They call this 'Rent Remixed'. I'd dub it 'Rent Reduced', in that the late Jonathan Larson's reworking of La Bohème, while never a great musical, has been turned into a grisly, synthetic, pseudo pop concert with no particular roots or identity." The production closed on February 2, 2008.

    The production radically altered elements of the musical including defining the characters of Mimi, Angel and Mark as British. Songs were reordered (including Maureen's first appearance as the Act I finale). The rehaul of the score was masterminded by Steve Anderson and featured radically rearranged versions of Out Tonight, Today 4 U, Over the Moon and Happy New Year.

    Australian productions

    In 1999, an Australian production featured Justin Smith as Mark, Rodger Corser as Roger, Opell Ross as Angel and Australian ARIA Award winner Christine Anu as Mimi. The tour began in Sydney and wrapped in Melbourne.

    A production in Perth, Western Australia was mounted in 2007 and featured Anthony Callea as Mark, Tim Campbell as Roger, Jaya Henderson as Mimi, Courtney Act as Angel, Shai Yammanne as Tom Collins, Sharon Wisniewski as Joanne, Andrew Conaghan as Benny and Nikki Webster as Maureen.

    In 2015, Hayes Theatre Co. in Sydney staged a sell-out season at the Hayes Theatre under the direction of Shaun Rennie and musical direction of Andrew Worboys. The production starred Stephen Madsen as Mark, Linden Furnell as Roger, Loren Hunter as Mimi, Christopher Scalzo as Angel, Nana Matapule as Collins, Laura Bunting as Maureen and Casey Donovan as Joanne. An encore season of this production has been proposed for March–April 2016.

    2005–2006 International tour

    The international tour, which played from 2005 to 2006, started in Singapore in 2005 and ended in Taipei in 2006. It also visited Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul.

    2009 U.S. National tour

    A national tour starring Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, reprising their original Broadway (and film) roles, launched in January 2009 in Cleveland, OH. After having a reprise performance in the summer of 2007, they signed on to be part of the 2009 tour. Original "Seasons of Love" soloist Gwen Stewart signed on to this tour as well. Joining them were Nicolette Hart as Maureen, Justin Johnston as Angel, Lexi Lawson as Mimi, Michael McElroy as Collins, Jacques C. Smith as Benny, and Haneefah Wood as Joanne. Ensemble members were Karmine Alers, Toby Blackwell, Adam Halpin, Trisha Jeffrey, Joshua Kobak, Telly Leung, Caren Tackett, Jed Resnick, Andy Senor, Cary Shields, Yuka Takara, and John Watson.

    At the tour stop in Detroit, Michigan, Pascal herniated two discs in his neck and was put on medical leave. Cary Shields, an understudy who had replaced Pascal when Rent first opened on Broadway, filled in. Pascal made a full recovery and returned to the show.

    The 2009 National Tour ended on February 7, 2010, in Sacramento, CA. Tour stops included: Los Angeles, Seattle, Costa Mesa, San Diego, Toronto, Phoenix, Sacramento, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Des Moines, Tokyo, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Houston.

    2010 Hollywood Bowl

    Rent veteran Neil Patrick Harris directed a production at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. The production played a three night engagement, August 6–8, 2010. His Beastly co-star Vanessa Hudgens played Mimi.

    On April 30, 2010, it was confirmed that Wayne Brady, Aaron Tveit, Skylar Astin, Collins Pennie, Tracie Thoms, Telly Leung, and Gwen Stewart had also been cast as Collins, Roger, Mark, Benny, Joanne, Angel, and the Season of Love soloist (and additional roles) respectively.

    On June 4, 2010, it was confirmed that Nicole Scherzinger would round out the cast of Rent playing Maureen. Additionally the show's ensemble included Yassmin Alers, Eric B. Anthony, King Aswad, Susan Beaubian, David Burtka, Kathy Deitch, Sam Given, Rachael Harris, Tricia Kelly, Ethan Le Phong, Kristolyn Lloyd, Zarah Mahler, Laura Mixon, Jason Paige, MiRi Park and Brandon Wardell.

    2011 Off-Broadway revival

    The show was revived Off-Broadway at Stage 1 of New World Stages with previews starting July 14, 2011 and a scheduled opening of August 11, 2011. This was the first New York Revival of the show since the original production closed less than three years earlier. The production was directed by Rent's original director Michael Greif. Joining Greif were several Tony Award-winning/nominated designers. Almost the entire show was different from the original yet the reinvention did not please the critics, who complained that the new actors did not have a feel for the characters they were playing and it made the show feel contrived. The Off-Broadway production of RENT closed on September 9, 2012.

    2016 Barcelona

    On Jan 26, 2016, Rent opened in Barcelona, for the first time in Catalan. The new production was directed by Daniel Anglès and featured the following in the cast:

  • Nil Bofill as Mark Cohen
  • Víctor Arbelo as Roger Davis
  • Mireia Òrrit as Mimi Márquez
  • Albert Bolea as Angel Dumott Schunard
  • Queralt Albinyana as Joanne Jefferson
  • Anna Herebia as Maureen Johnson
  • Xavi Navarro as Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III
  • 2016 20th Anniversary Tour

    News emerged toward the end of January 2016 that a 20th Anniversary touring production of Rent would hit the road, starting in the fall of 2016. Venues and casting will be announced later in the year.

    International productions

    Rent has been performed in countries around the world, including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Greece, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Australia, Guam, New Zealand, Israel, Puerto Rico, Austria, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Czech Republic.

    The musical has been performed in twenty-five languages: Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Greek, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, Czech, and Catalan.

    Audio recordings

    The original Broadway cast recording features the musical material in the show on a double-disc "complete recording" collection with a remixed version of the song "Seasons of Love" featuring Stevie Wonder. The label later issued a single-disc "best of" highlights.

    The film version also yielded a double-disc soundtrack recording of the complete score, and single CD of highlights.

    There are also many foreign cast recordings.

    2005 film

    Rent was adapted into a movie directed by Chris Columbus with a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky. With the exception of Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker, the original Broadway cast members reprised the principal roles. Rosario Dawson played Mimi and Tracie Thoms was cast as Joanne, as Rubin-Vega (Mimi) was pregnant at the time of filming and Walker (Joanne) felt she was too old for the part. Released on November 23, 2005, the film remained in the box office top ten for three weeks. Several plot elements were changed slightly, and some of the songs were changed to spoken dialogue in the film. The soundtrack was produced by Rob Cavallo, engineered by Doug McKean and features renowned session musicians Jamie Muhoberac, Tim Pierce and Dorian Crozier. The film received mixed reviews.

    2008 live filming

    On September 7, 2008, the final performance of the Broadway production of Rent was filmed live and (also using footage shot at a live performance in August 2008) released as Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway in cinemas with high definition digital projection systems in the U.S. and Canada between September 24 and 28, 2008. Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway was released on February 3, 2009 on DVD & Blu-ray formats.

    Upcoming Documentary

    Filmmaker and Rent alum Andy Señor, Jr. is currently producing a documentary, following his journey producing the musical in Cuba in late 2014. This production of Rent was the first Broadway musical to premiere in Cuba since diplomatic relations between the two countries became strained during the Cold War.


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