Fox's live performance of Rent the Broadway musical that ushered in a new age of pop-rock music on the Great White Way, has finally arrived. The rock opera's uplifting message still strikes a chord with audiences everywhere. Before you rock out to the live version, study on this facts about the original play.
1. It's loosely based on the 1896 opera La Boheme .
The story of Rent Billy Aronson, who moved to Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in 1983. Homelessness was a huge issue in the city at that time, as was the emergence of AIDS, which would affect 1096 new victims by year's end. One night, Aronson caught a performance of La Boheme . The opera, written by the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, is a four-act masterpiece about a group of penniless, starving artists in 1
"I remember walking home … and noticing the contrast between the luscious world of the opera and the world I lived in," Aronson told Mediander. Soon, he hatched the idea of adapting La Boheme into a musical that would be set in NY during the AIDS crisis. Mirror La Boheme including the relationship between Mimi and Roger (in Puccini's opera, much of the drama stems from Rodolfo, a poet, and his rocky affair with a poor woman named Mimi, who finally gave birth to tuberculosis) and Angel's decision to kill an obnoxious dog for money (in La Boheme one character earns some badly-needed cash by doing away with a pesky parrot). . 2 Rent 's most beloved songs.
"I love working with musicals and dancing, but I do not write music," Aronson said. La Boheme project, the writer approached the acquaintances Playwrights Horizons, who put him in touch with composer Jonathan Larson. Eventually, other projects drove Aronson to leave the show behind. Larson-who felt the show might well become his generation's answer to Hair -so stopped working on it for a time, but he eventually came back to it, with his ex-collaborator's blessing. Aronson penned the first lyrics to "Santa Fe," "I Should Tell You," and the titular song, "Rent."
Aronson wrote on his website that sometime before the off-Broadway premiere, he asked what he left of his work. Larson responded, "the lyrics for 'Rent' were basically his, and the lyrics for 'Santa Fe' were basically mine, and the lyrics for 'I Should Tell You' were helped and helped."
3. "Will I?" what inspired by something Jonathan Larson heard about at HIV / AIDS support group meeting.
Rent Larson regularly attended the meetings of a nonprofit group called Friends In Deed, which was created in 1991 as A support group for New Yorkers with AIDS and other life-threatening ailments. The discussions Larson observed there prompted him to write "Life Support" and "Will I?" According to organization co-founder Cynthia O'Neal, "Jonathan had been sitting in … one night when a young man raised his hand." The I said "I want to lose my dignity?"
4. To nab a role, Adam Pascal had to break a bad singing habit.
Pascal played Roger Davis, a musician and ex-junkie with HIV. Rent the performer-like his character-has an impressive rock and roll background; He'd spent many years in bands, including one that had recently broken up. During the audition, he was asked to sing "Your Eyes," Roger's tender love ballad. Although the vocalist aced every note, there was one big problem: He could not keep his eyes open. "As a rock singer, I used to closing my eyes when showing / feeling emotion," Pascal wrote in retrospect. Obviously, that technique was ill-suited for acting. Pascal fixed the issue and landed the role.
An early version of Rent which is performed as a staged reading at the New York Theater Workshop in March 1993. One year later, a new workshop production-complete with a heavily revised script-was staged. This proto- Rent ran for two weeks; Jeffrey Seller and Kevin McCollum stopped by to see the show. Larson's musical was still very much a work in progress. "For the first 20 minutes, I thought, 'I do not know what's going on, but there's great energy,' '' McCollum told Vulture." Then, 25 minutes into, 'Light My Candle' happens. "The producers couldn 't believe their ears.' "Lollipop", "That's the best piece of musical theater storytelling I've seen in a long time," "McCollum recalled to do his show. "Well," Larson replied, "Do you want to see the second act?"
Sellers and McCollum later brought their associate Allen Gordon on board as a third producer, Rent What is ready for its first official preview.
6. Larson did not live to see Rent 's success.
On January 24, 1996, Rent had its final rehearsal at the New York Theater Workshop, at Off-Broadway venue. Larson sat do wn for an interview with New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini. Greenwich Village apartment. The next day, Larson was found dead on the kitchen floor; he had succumbed to a fatal aortic aneurysm. He was only 35 years old.
Rent what set to have his first-ever preview performance that very night. With heavy hearts, the cast decided to take the stage in his memory. It is a performance like no other. The doors were closed to the general public; every available seat is reserved for Larson's friends and family. Together, the cast decided there would be no choreography or blocking-instead, everybody would sit down in front of the audience for a full sing-through. But, the night wore on, the more energized. Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who played Angel No Day But Today – The Story of Rent . For the rest of the evening, the whole company danced and did their blocking with gusto.
7. Rent is in some elite company, awards-wise.
With the impromptu memorial performance behind them, the cast dove into their first public preview on January 26. That April, Rent made the jump to Broadway, where it would stay for the next 12 years. Altogether, Larson's passion project nabbed four Tony Awards, including the coveted Best Musical. It also took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Of Thee I Sing South Pacific Fiorello !,  How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying A Chorus Line Sunday in the Park With George Next to Normal and Hamilton ) have ever won.
8. It pioneered the Broadway ticket lottery.
For many, it can be tough to catch the big white way without breaking the bank the right to buy choice seats at a bargain price. Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent Rent them [intheir20sand30sartistsBohemians-thepeopleforwhom[Larson] wrote the show. " So after the musical move to Broadway, at each performance, two rows worth of $ 20 apiece. The process started two hours before the show, and the tickets were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Soon enough, huge lines of hardcore fans (known as "rentheads") clamoring for rush seats started forming outside the theater. To beat the frenzy, many diehards even took to pitching and camping out on the street. Naturally, this raises some concerns. "Seller said." "We've got that kids were going to get hurt and get into trouble in the middle of the night with what's left a pretty big contingent of low-lifes around there," Seller said. Broadway's first ticket lottery system Since then, this sort of thing has become an industry standard, although modern shows tend to conduct their lottery digitally.
9. The original cast sang "Seasons of Love" at the 1996 Democratic National Convention.
On the day of the convention – August 26, 1996 – The ensemble serenaded First Lady Hillary Clinton and Admirer Chicago crowd with Rent 's most famous number. Chelsea Clinton's 17th birthday by taking a Broadway performance of Rent . The 42nd Commander-in-Chief later described the musical as "really powerful."
10. Martin Scorsese was considered a possible director for the 2005 movie adaptation.
As Seller, who co-produced the film, The Washington Post "Scorsese admired the piece but did not know what to do with it. " In the end, it was Chris Columbus of Mrs. Doubtfire fame who assumed the director's chair.
11. Hamilton celebrates Rent 's 20th anniversary with their own interpretation of "Seasons of Love."
"When you're living in America at the end of the millennium , you're not alone. " Tonight, we honor Rent after 20 yrs. pic.twitter.com/1hYUxei6jP
– Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) April 29, 2016
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's first experience with this paradigm-shifting musical came at age 17, when he was taken on his birthday. For the future star, it was a life-changing event. Miranda said that Larson's music immediately triggered "a revelation-that you could write about now, and you could have made that really felt contemporary."
In the cast of Hamilton celebrated the 20th anniversary of Rent by performing a version of "Season of Love."
An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.