Rent: The Musical Essay

Rent: The Musical Essay

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Rent. To most people it is associated with an apartment, house, or another object. This word rarely conjures pleasant memories, but more often annoyance and stress. However, when someone mentions rent to me, my mind races to some of the most memorable experiences in my life.

When I hear the word Rent, I immediately see an eclectic Broadway production, overflowing with talent, adventure, and magic. I picture scantly clad actresses, strutting across the stage. I envision stunning duets and thought-provoking lyrics. That single word transports me to a different time and place.

In order to adequately depict my feelings, I must start at the beginning. In the fall of 1996, I embarked on my maiden NYC voyage. Armed with a camera, city guide, and my little sister, I headed for New York to discover myself. As I began this adventure, I had no idea how it would end. When I landed at JFK I was a little girl, trying to have some fun, but by the time I boarded the plane to head home my world had changed.

We began with the typical touristy attractions; the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Soho, Central Park, and shopping. We had been planning this trip for months and had poured over every detail. From the time the plane landed, we were living by a minute-to-minute schedule. This was a well organized trip and The Great White Way was not on the agenda. Or so we thought.

Our second to last day in New York started like all the others. Breakfast. Shopping. Sites. Back to the hotel. However, upon returning to our rooms, my stepmother (who was escorting us on this journey) handed me three tickets. Across the top of them, it read: The Nederlander Theatre presents Jonathan Larson’s RENT. I was completely stunned and my ey...


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... my sister and I returned to New York. Once again we made the trek to the Nederlander. We took our seats and relished the memories. While the cast was different, the affect was similar. It opened our eyes and renewed our appreciation for those that are different than us. I feel in love with it all over again. Even though I had seen the show in Indianapolis and Chicago, there was something about sitting in that theater that made it special.

RENT is only a musical. It was written by a man that was passionate for life. Jonathan Larson took his dream and made it a reality for everyone that sits in the audience. That passion is the reason it remains one of the most influential productions in Broadway history. If it weren’t for his dream and devotion, it would not be what it is today. That passion is what changed my life and the lives of thousands of others.

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