Celebrate the different “seasons of love” with a group of artists in New York struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. On June 25 – 30 at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City, the award-winning musical Rent is coming on its 20th Anniversary Tour. Before the show opens, here are a few more facts you may not know:
- Rent is loosely based on Puccini’s opera La Bohème. Jonathan Larson, the show’s creator, was a young artist living in New York City and felt like he saw himself and friends in the opera’s characters and lives. After seeing the opera, he studied it intensely. In an interview he said, “I analyzed the libretto, broke it down beat by beat.” This deep study helped him take Puccini’s original characters and reinvent them in New York in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Characters like Marcello became Mark, Rodolfo to Roger, Musetta to Maureen.
- In the early 90s, Jonathan Larson wrote hundreds of songs and made drastic script changes as he put Rent together because his dream was to write a rock opera “to bring musical theater to the MTV generation.”
- Rent was first performed at the New York Theatre Workshop in March 1993, then Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in 1996 before opening on Broadway on April 29, 1996. The show was a hit from the beginning and won several awards including a Tony Award for Best New Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Wilson Jermaine Heredia – Angel) in 1996, several Drama Desk awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1996.
- The show is tremendously successful on Broadway and across the world. The Broadway production of Rent was so popular that it ran for over 10 years. Internationally, the show has been performed in over 40 countries and translated into 25 languages. Rent was also adapted into a movie version in 2005 directed by Chris Columbus. In 2017, Fox presented Rent: Live as a television special.
- Jonathan Larson, composer and lyricist, unexpectedly died of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, the night before the Off-Broadway premiere. In honor of Jonathan Larson, the first preview of Rent was a sing-through of the musical with his friends and family gathered together in the audience.
- For the Rent 20th Anniversary tour at the Eccles, seats in the first few rows of the orchestra section will be available for $28 for every performance of RENT. The $28 tickets are available in-person, by drawing, in front of the Regent Street Black Box at the Eccles, located on 144 Regent Street, behind the Eccles Theater on the day of each performance only, two hours prior to the show and limited to two tickets per person. When Rent opened on Broadway in 1996, they started the tradition of “rush” tickets and the producers of the show continue the tradition in every city the show will play. Originally, people would camp outside the theater for hours in advance to get the discounted tickets and these fans were known as “RENT-heads.”