Based on Puccini’s beloved opera “La Bohème,” “Rent” follows the ups and downs of a year in the life of a group of impoverished, artistic friends living in Manhattan’s East Village. Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, struggles to find his place in the world; his roommate Roger, an HIV-positive musician, wonders how he will leave his mark before he dies. Mimi and Angel look for true love as they face the harsh reality of life as HIV-positive young people, while the businesslike Joanne seeks fidelity from her wild-child performance artist girlfriend Maureen. The group’s dreams, losses, and love stories weave through the musical’s narration to paint a stunningly raw and emotional portrait of the gritty bohemian world of New York City in the late 1980s under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
“Rent” was the first musical of the 92nd Season. This adult contemporary retelling of the Puccini opera “La Boheme” was both a critical and box office success. The reviewer reminded readers that “Rent” was a musical that was not only representational of this new generation of actors, but the type of theater experience that brought many new theatergoers in to see this production at Players. While there were audience members who felt the production was too adult, the show was one of Players most financially successful of the past few seasons. The reviewer also felt that the eight principal players and the company of fifteen were a most talented and memorable ensemble.