"Rent" Review - Broadway musicalThe idea to create a musical based on the opera of Giacomo Puccini ‘La Bohème’ belonged to the playwright B. Aronson. A year later – in 1989 – he began working with 29-year-old composer J. Larson. The young man suggested that the action of the musical should take place against a background of poverty of passionate life of gays, transvestites and Manhattan punks, who did not have their own home. Also to the composer belonged the idea of the play’s name. In 1991, J. Larson decided to start writing the histrionics at his own. He asked permission from B. Aronson to use his concept during the creation of the production. Entered into an agreement to obtain a share of the Broadway’s income from production, the playwright has given his consent.
The author has written over a hundred songs, but the musical included only 42 of them. After the preliminary readings, it was revealed that the show required a large enough amount of improvements. Implementing them, J. Larson presented musical in NY Theatre Workshop. On the eve of the first official off-Broadway show, composer was interviewed by A. Tommasini. This journalist from ‘The New York Times’ noted that the beginning of the play coincided with the 100th anniversary of the debut of the opera by Giacomo Puccini. The next morning, Jonathan Larson died. Try-outs were canceled. Instead, friends and relatives of the composer listened to the songs from the musical, performed by actors in loving memory of the deceased author.
A few months later, there was the premiere of a spectacular on Broadway. The production was enthusiastically perceived by the audience, to which greatly contributed the recent death of its creator. Critics welcomed the new musical with open hearts. Reviewers noted not only the music part, but also its realization on the stage. They drew attention to the fact that the heroes of performance, being infected with HIV, continued to live and to love each other. The musical won the hearts of many fans. There was even invented a special name for them – ‘Rent-heads’. These people spent the night in front of the theater’s cash desks waiting for the 20-dollar tickets, which have been released for sale on the day of the Broadway premiere. Also, the fans tried not to miss the shows started in other cities. During the show at the Broadway, one person beheld 1100 performances of this production, making a record by this.
Production made a big impression on critics, winning Pulitzer Prize and Drama Desk Award, scoring to 6 wins out of 10 nominations. The musical also won the Drama League Award, NY Drama Critics' Circle & 2 Theatre Worlds. The performance 10 times has been nominated for Tony, winning 4. London production in 1998 received 3 nominations for the Laurence Olivier Award. Box office for 12 years of the Broadway show made 280 million dollars.
Last Update:July, 12th 2016