The Emergence of The Musical Rent

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The Emergence of The Musical Rent The 1996 hit musical RENT stars an amazing cast, each with his/her own powerful voice. This musical, Jonathan Larson’s first produced show, has become one of the biggest things ever on Broadway. The concept of the show is nothing immaculate. RENT is a musical updating La Boheme and setting it in NYC’s East Village on Christmas Eve. In the opera, the Parisians are afflicted with tuberculosis. This plague was modified to today’s equivalent of the AIDS virus. This rock musical has a majority of its cast “living with, not dying from disease.” We start out learning of Roger Davis who is an ex-junkie and a struggling musician. “His girlfriend April left a note saying ‘we’ve got AIDS’ before slitting her wrists in the bathroom.” His main drive is to write one last meaningful song before “the virus takes hold.” He feels as if his life is a “wasted opportunity,” since he once “had the world at his feet,” but now all he has is death in his future. We learn of a man returning to NYC named Tom Collins who “struck gold at MIT,” but was “expelled for [his] theory of actual reality.” It frustrates him that his computer age philosophy students “would rather watch TV” and blames America for these values. Collins falls in love with a transvestite street dancer named Angel Shunard who “gets a Band-Aid for his knee,” because someone had mugged him. They both have AIDS. To contend with their affliction, they attend life support meetings, which are designed for “people coping with life.” This group is especially helpful if the participant’s “body provides a comfortable home for the acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” It is for those who are determined to live without fear. The group’s accli... ... middle of paper ... ...ess that a playwright “hopes for in the middle of the night, and in the morning is embarrassed at how wild he’d let his fantasies run.” But here it happened. Unfortunately, he died the night after RENT’s first preview of an aortic aneurysm. He had almost reached his 36th birthday. Once or twice in a lifetime you stumble across something that touches a part of you and leaves you forever changed. Jonathan Larson’s RENT has not only inspired and motivated me, but has done the same for others around the world. It reminds us all to cherish what we have and to find joy at even the most unhappy times. To those who have yet to experience the sheer power of RENT, do yourselves a favor and give it a chance, for I promise that you will not regret it. And for those who have, share his message and celebrate all the love in your life. Bibliography:

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