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Rent Musical

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It was just last weekend that Rent hit me. I hadn’t really heard about it before then a little from various people until someone recommended it to me and I have to say, it is amazing. The whole operation is beautiful and full of life, love, and hope. Since then, I can’t get the story and songs out of my head. The messages in Jonathan Larson’s most renowned work are everlasting and will never become outdated.
“No day but today.” The tagline and a recurring lyric, is prominent in the fashion the characters lead their lives. A group of friends and lovers dwell in Alphabet City in New York in the late 1980’s. Between facing eviction, addiction, AIDS and HIV, and death, they learn to live in the moment and embrace that they have each other.
Mimi Marquez is an exotic dancer with HIV and an addiction. Roger, also HIV positive, is a melancholic songwriter who spends much of the story mourning his girlfriend April and trying to write one single song. Mimi and Roger have a bumpy beginning and middle as illness, addiction, and other people get in their way. From Light My Candle to Another Day and I Should Tell You, Mimi is able to open Roger’s eyes to the world that has continued and that must be lived in.
Mark Cohen is Roger’s roommate and friend. He is an unsuccessful filmmaker who lives behind his camera. Mark is the narrator of the story and the one who tries to hold the group together, capturing their moments. He is “the one to survive” and despite his loneliness, strives to create unity between them.
AIDS inflicted Tom Collins is described as teacher and anarchist, with a passion for life and fun. Angel Dumott Schunard is a cross dresser with AIDS and an amazingly generous heart. They care for and about each other until the end. Angel brings them all together through the belief in love.
Maureen Johnson is a drama queen with a stunning voice and slight inability to commit. Joanne Jefferson is Maureen’s on again, off again girlfriend and a lawyer. The two love each other and fight so often it’s hard to keep track. They are an unlikely couple who nevertheless take each other for what they are.
Jonathan Larson illuminates the struggles faced by so many people “living with, living with, living with, not dying from disease” and facing loss, addiction, and love. Though his early death made him unable to enjoy the magnitude of the success of Rent, which ran for twelve years on Broadway, was translated into many major languages, and has been performed all around the world. The story is so timeless that almost two decades later, people are still talking about it and loving the songs and story. Through struggles and pain, the characters live on and truly represent every one of us. From generous Angel to reckless Mimi to lonely Mark and depressed Roger, we are all present in the story and the essence of Rent holds true to each of us.



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