Rent (musical play)

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Rent is a Broadway Musical, of which the plot and much of the detail is borrowed directly from Giacomo Puccini's famous 1896 opera La Boheme, set in Paris, which focused on the disease consumption. In Larson's version, AIDS takes the place of consumption.

It was the winner of four 1996 Tony awards, including Best Musical, Score, book, and Actor. It also won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Best American Drama.

The musical has become very popular among fans of musicals and among students, especially those involved in drama programs. Yet many people have raised moral objections to it.


Rent covers a year in the life of a group of artists living in New York City, shedding normal life values. Their landlord, an old friend of theirs, goes back on a promise to let them live there, and demands that they pay rent for the previous year. Four of the main characters are homosexual, two of whom have AIDS, as do two other characters (Mimi and Roger). The main character, Mark, a filmmaker, reacts to many of his friends dying. (Only one does throughout the course of the play.) The musical covers their lives throughout the year; Roger trying to live life again rather than sulking, Mark trying to fit in and make money without conforming, and all of them seeing how short life can be when Angel dies.


The musical deals with themes of homosexuality, drug abuse, love, and life as a starving artist. Some critics have raised objections to performances by high schools due to inclusion of immorality and drug abuse in accepting way. Many shows, including ones in Texas, have been canceled after the community complained.