Rent is one of the most famous, socially significant and popular shows in Broadway history. The live production is loosely based on a 19th century opera, and premiered in 1996 in front of off-Broadway New York audiences. The plot involves the dramatic lives and struggles of young people living in 1980's Greenwich Village, and their battles with the HIV virus. When it first premiered, the play shook the paradigm of Broadway, becoming the first live show to feature the controversial topic of HIV, and to incorporate gay and lesbian characters into its plot.
Rent's socially important but entertaining story, well developed characters, and original musical score made the play an instant success in 1996. The musical received a permanent residency in Broadway's Nederlander Theatre.
Rent Information Continued
The cast album from Rent was the most successful recording of an American musical in almost 30 years, featuring both a 2-Disc, "complete recording" collection with a remixed version of the song "Seasons of Love" featuring Stevie Wonder, and a 1-disc "best of" highlights.
Rent was one of the first Broadway musicals that featured some of the first clearly gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender characters on stage.
Characters include Roger, a musician suffering from HIV and recovering from heroin addiction; Mark, a struggling film maker; Maureen, Mark's bisexual performance artist ex-girlfriend; Tom Collins, a teacher at New York University (NYU) who is HIV-positive and a friend and former roommate of Roger and Mark; Angel, Collins' drag queen lover, also HIV-positive and a street percussionist/musician; Benny, an old friend and another former roommate of Mark and Roger who later became their landlord; Mimi, an HIV-positive dancer and heroin junkie; and Joanne, a Harvard-educated lawyer and Maureen's girlfriend.