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RENT on Broadway

Updated on February 20, 2013

Everything is Rent

Rent is a smash hit, bohemian musical, written by Jonathan Larson.

It lived at the Nederlander theatre on Broadway for 12 years, before departing, much to the despair of the legion of Renthead fans. A few years later it has been resurrected and found new residence at the New World Stages Theatre, off Broadway. The show is directed by Michael Greiff who directed the original productions. The show went into previews on July 14, 2011 and opened August 11, 2011.

Based on Puccini's La Boheme this show explores ideas of love, loss, hardship and life. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, Rent will go in history as the Broadway smash that bucked the trend of 1990's musical theatre at the time.

Jonathan Larson's RENT revival was back on Broadway until Fall 2012

RENT based on Puccini's La Boheme is the story of a group of bohemians, living in New York's East Village. They struggling to get by, they can't pay their rent, whilst seeing their loved ones fighting AIDS. The show explores ideas of success, acceptance, poverty, survival, death, loss, love and living for the moment.

Have you seen RENT?

Have you seen RENT on Broadway?

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The Characters in Rent

Meet the colourful and diverse characters that make up the show

Now pay attention - this circle of friends gets complicated...

MARK COHEN: The show is narrated through Mark's perspective. A bohemian and struggling film maker. He is the ex-boyfriend of Maureen, and lives with Roger. Mark creates the final movie that documents a year in the life of friends.

ROGER DAVIS: A bohemian musician, recovering heroin addict and infected with HIV from his ex-girlfriend April (who killed herself after finding out she had HIV). Love interest of Mimi, and roommate of Mark.

TOM COLLINS: A philosopher (teaching at the MIT) and anarchist, fighting with AIDS. Friends with Roger, Mark, Benny and Maureen. Former roommate of Roger. Angel's lover.

MIMI MARQUEZ: Heroin junkie, exotic dancer at the Cat Stratch club, HIV positive. Roger's love interest. Used to be in a relationship with Benny.

ANGEL DUMOTT SCHUNARD: Drag Queen, street percussionist living with AIDS. Collin's lover.

JOANNE JEFFERSON: Ivy League-educated lawyer; Maureen's lover.

MAUREEN JOHNSON: An anarchist performance artist. Joanne's girlfriend. Mark's ex-girlfriend.

BENJAMIN "BENNY" COFFIN III: Landlord to Mark and Roger - also the building where Mimi lives. Ex-roommate of Mark, Collins, Roger, and Maureen. Married to Alison Grey (who we never meet) of the Westport Greys and so considered to be a yuppie and a corporate sell-out.

Did you know?

RENT is the 9th longest running show in Broadway history

Jonathan Larson's RENT, the live recording from the actual theatre!

Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway

Don't worry if you missed RENT when it was at the Nederlander Theatre - or even if you can't get to see it off Broadway. The last night was filmed live and put on DVD. There is also some excellent bonus footage, following the cast in their week last week of shows. There won't be a dry eye in the house!

Everything is Rent
Everything is Rent

RENT is about more than just paying the rent...

A lot of people think RENT means "paying the rent"...but there are more definitions that open up the meanings behind this show's title.



1. a payment made periodically by a tenant to a landlord in return for the use of land, a building, an apartment, an office, or other property.

verb (used with object)

2. to grant the possession and enjoyment of (property, machinery, etc.) in return for the payment of rent from the tenant or lessee. (often followed by out ).

verb (used without object)

1. to be leased or let for rent: This apartment rents cheaply.


1. for rent, available to be rented, as a home or store: an apartment for rent.


1. lease, let. See hire.

Rent [2]


1. an opening made by rending or tearing; slit; fissure.

2. a breach of relations or union between individuals or groups; schism.

Rend verb, rent, rend·ing.

verb (used with object)

1. to separate into parts with force or violence: The storm rent the ship to pieces.

2. to tear apart, split, or divide: a racial problem that is rending the nation.

3. to pull or tear violently (often followed by away, off, up, etc.).

4. to tear (one's garments or hair) in grief, rage, etc.

5. to disturb (the air) sharply with loud noise.


1. rive, sunder, sever, cleave, chop, fracture, rupture.

(Definitions taken from:

Looking at these definitions, we can see that this show is more than just needing to pay the rent. It is about financial freedom (or lack of it), friendship groups and relationships tearing apart, lives being destroyed by the violent wrath of AIDS, people being made homeless, people losing their dreams and not knowing what path to take in life and lots of unknowns with open and closed doors. Everything is RENT.

"One Song Glory" from RENT

Watch RENT the film

Rent (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)
Rent (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)

In the mid 2000s, Chris Columbus directed the film version of RENT. An interesting interpretation and well worth a view. Stars many of the original cast and captures some jaw droppingly, superb performances.


Jonathan Larson

Creator of RENT

Jonathan Larson (February 4, 1960 - January 25, 1996) lived and breathed RENT. His work explored diverse ideas of life and what it means to live your life to the full, knowing that death is imminent. Starting creative work on the show in 1993, RENT got to Broadway in 1996. Tragically, Larson died the day before opening night, of an aortic dissection. His family gave their blessing to go ahead with the show, and it ran on for another 12 years. Larson's legacy lives on.

[image credit - Wiki]

Thank You Jonathan Larson

"Today 4 U" from RENT

Listen to RENT the film Soundtrack

Rent (2005 Movie Soundtrack)
Rent (2005 Movie Soundtrack)

If you enjoyed the film, you'll love the soundtrack. With very similar versions to the show, there are a few differences (for example, the intro of RENT is spoken without backing guitar)...beautiful music.


"Out Tonight" from RENT

Some RENT books

From diaries, to musical scores, there is a lot about RENT in paper format. Have a browse...

"I'll Cover You"

Bargain Priced RENT

The most beautiful thing about eBay, is that you can find rare and unique collectable items - perfect for the avid fan, or the new explorer.

"La Vie Boheme B"

"Seasons of Love" - ...these lyrics are absolutely beautiful

If you only watch one video on this lens, make it this one...

For full lyrics, check out

Which is your Favourite song so far, from RENT?

Rent the Musical
Rent the Musical

Out of all the YouTube clips, which is your favourite song?

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"Seasons of Love" Tribute to Regis Philbin

The cast of RENT changed the words to "Seasons of Love" to fit in with Regis' leaving. Have a listen to the harmonies, they are just beautiful! Although, some of the words are altered, the sentiment is still the same as what the shows intimates.

How Do You Measure a Year?

Seasons of Love
Seasons of Love

RENT is about living for the moment, seizing the day and valuing each precious moment you have on earth. The song "Seasons of Love", explores the different ways that you can measure a year. Love, is really the conclusion to the song (and show), but what do you think?

How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year?

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Rent says Goodbye at the 62nd Tony Awards

When the original Broadway production of RENT closed it's doors back in 2008 - many hearts were broken...a moving tribute here by Whoopi Goldberg, and the original cast of RENT

More of my pages about Theatre, that you will love!

Spring AwakeningSEE FULL PAGE

Parade the MusicalSEE FULL PAGE

Hairspray (Musical)SEE FULL PAGE

Equus (Dan Radcliffe)SEE FULL PAGE


Jesus Christ SuperstarSEE FULL PAGE

RENT by Jonathan LarsonSEE FULL PAGE

Les Miserables Movie PostersSEE FULL PAGE

Rent Remixed (London)SEE FULL PAGE

The Edinburgh Festival 2012SEE FULL PAGE

I Should Tell You...You Should Tell Me... - What are your thoughts on my lens. Have you seen the show? Did you like it? Who are your favourite characters? What'

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    • MarcoG profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Edinburgh

      @Scarlettohairy: Awwwwww what a shame! It's still on Broadway (well, a slightly different version to the one that was on at the Nederlander Theatre), so you still have time, lol. B&tB is an awesome too though :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I went to NYC with my daughter's school trip years ago. I had a ticket to see Rent but one of the guys begged anyone who had a ticket to trade (for Beauty and the Beast). I traded. Sounds like a great show.

    • MarcoG profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Edinburgh

      @dwnovacek: Thank you 23Squidoo. I'm glad you like my lens, and the show. It's my favourite show too. I was lucky enough to work on the London RENT and met Larson's parents, lovely people! It's such an inspiring and provocative show, really makes you take stock and count your blessings x

    • dwnovacek profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm in love with this lens. Rent is my favorite musical and you've created a masterpiece to introduce this show to others. My favorite character is Angel, I love all the songs - my favorite changes with my mood. Angel Blessed!

    • MarcoG profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Edinburgh

      @SheGetsCreative: WOW! Sounds like a very brave school! Good for them! I can't imagine what it would be like if steered too far away from the original. For a PG-13 version, Mimi would probably have a chocolate addiction or something else instead lol x

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      interesting---I've never even heard of Rent until now!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I've never seen the Broadway version, but I did have the chance to see a high school version in Newport Beach (which caused quite a stir when they opted to do the original version, not the PG-13 usual high school musical version). It's a great show!


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