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A rock musical based on Giacomo Puccini's opera, La Bohème

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Not your typical musical

  • Dec 13, 2008
  • by
Rent is not a musical to enter into lightly.  The feint hearted and the musical newbies might be very easily intimidated by a rock opera in which the majority of the exposition is delivered through song, the complex relationships of the characters have to be spelled out on a program insert, and audience participation causes the entire theatre to ring with "Moo!"

Still, Rent offers a stunning contribution to the musical theatre catalogue.  With memorable songs, genuine emotion, and a surprisingly simple take home message ("No day but today!"), Rent has earned its place as one of the finest musicals out there.  Jonathan Larsen was still very new to musical theatre when he wrote the score, but his raw talent is evident in every line.  The rhymes are witty and often unexpected.  The music is touching without being too trite.  The language is realistic, but still poetic.

A word to those who aren't as musically savvy as us geeks.  Be sure to listen and familiarize yourself with the music before going to see the show.  Knowing the words can often help fill in some of the exposition.  Facts are delivered quickly and, depending on the sound system, can sometimes be lost without careful attention.

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Quick Tip by . March 05, 2010
I don't know the big deal over rent. I thought it was BORING. Girlfriend loved it through. But it was her first Musical
review by . December 05, 2008
Based on Giacommo Puccini's La Boheme, Rent is a modern rock opera. What does this mean? It means over 90% of the dialogue is sung. This is a far different experience in the classic operatic language of Italian than modern day American English. This lends itself to several odd lines as the story progresses.   Jonathan Larson may not have been the most skilled lyricist, but he wrote a beautiful opera with engaging characters. The songs are catchy, despite the wordiness inherent to the genre. …
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It is my ultimate literary goal in life to be to ancient Greece what Philippa Gregory is to Tudor England. Only better.
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Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson[1] based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells a story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

The musical was first seen in a limited three-week workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1994. This same New York City off-Broadway theatre was also the musical's initial home following its official January 25, 1996, opening. The show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly 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.[2]

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 and 5,124 performances, making it the eighth-longest-running Broadway show by that time, ten years behind The Phantom of the Opera as of December 2009. The production grossed over $280 million.[3]

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

Productions involving high school students have generated controversy

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