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RENT – 20 Years Later

We visited as a guest of the venue


I love musicals; they are my favorite genre in theater.  It may be traced back to when I was 4, sitting in front of the TV for hours watching Hello Dolly, King and I, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and so many Rogers and Hammerstein musicals that I cannot list.  Regardless of its origins in my soul, I love them, that being said none of them spoke to me like Rent.


Rent is a rock musical with music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson which is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème.   Set in the 1990’s this musical hits home to GenXer’s like myself who could relate to the struggles of this group of misfits.  It was through their strife that this group learned what love and friendship is all about and slowly transitioning into adulthood a struggle we can all relate to.  This group of young artists attempt to survive and create a life in New York City’s East under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.   Each character’s heartbreaking tale carries the shows powerful storyline in song and dance bringing the audience to the realization that regardless of how damaged you are,  if you create a community of love, you will be okay.

Mimi Márquez, an erotic dancer with HIV and Roger’s girlfriend

Roger Davis, a songwriter-musician who is HIV positive and Mimi’s boyfriend

Mark Cohen, an independent Jewish-American filmmaker and Roger’s roommate

Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist and Joanne’s girlfriend

Angel Dumott Schunard, a drag queen percussionist with AIDS, who is Collins’ partner.

Tom Collins, a gay, part-time philosophy professor at New York University and anarchist with AIDS and Angel’s boyfriend

Joanne Jefferson, a lesbian lawyer, who is Maureen’s girlfriend (Also partially based on Marcello)

Benjamin ‘Benny’ Coffin III, the local landlord and a former roommate of Roger, Mark, Collins, and Maureen


Being the same age as the characters were when the musical was first came out took me back to when I was a struggling student trying to find my way, it’s great to relate to such a  powerful piece of work and knowing people who struggled like the characters.  Just as tragic as parts of the show, its creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly the night before the Off-Broadway premiere in 1996. The show went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards.  Rent content is quite dark and includes sexual content, adult language as well as intense topics not suitable for young children.


Tickets to the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour start at $29 and are available online at, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, January 7, 2017 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.

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