Scene from the musical Rent

Scene from the musical Rent

Rent is a modern day version of Puccini’s opera La Bohème. Set in New York City's East Village, it's an emotionally stirring story of a community of young artists struggling to earn a living and celebrate life. The original idea for an updating came from Billy Aronson as far back as 1989, but was taken on by Jonathan Larson who wrote the music, lyrics and book which eventually became Rent. The final version of the show opened in 1996 and won many awards, most notably the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Tragically, Larson died unexpectedly of a heart attack the night before the show’s first performance off-Broadway, ten days before his 36th birthday. The show’s songs incorporated dance, pop, salsa, rhythm & blues and rock’n’roll. The multiracial cast wore their microphones visibly, making the point that the show was as much a rock concert as a musical play.