Rent

Jonathan Larson's Tony-winning hit is the next Broadway musical that's returning to Australia.
Sarah Ward
December 15, 2023

Overview

Musical theatre fans just keep getting more reasons to celebrate Jonathan Larson. In the past few years, none other than Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda took one of the composer, lyricist and playwright's works and turned it into a movie. After tick, tick…BOOM! hit screens, a stage production toured Australia as well. Next, Aussie audiences can catch the show that made him an icon: Rent. In 2024, it too will do the rounds Down Under, including a New South Wales stop in Newcastle.

Larson created and composed the smash-hit production. Also, his Rent journey comes with quite the heartbreaking behind-the-scenes story. In the 90s, Larson passed away at the age of 35 on the day that that now-huge show premiered its first off-Broadway preview performance. So, he didn't get to see the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon that it would become.

Plenty of other people have — when it first hit Broadway, Rent ran for 12 years, making it one of the famed theatre district's longest-running shows. And among those prizes is the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer for Drama, all for a tale about seizing the moment, facing adversity and finding one's community.

Team Dustizeff via Wikimedia Commons

Loosely based on Puccini's La Boheme, and written to include real-life locations and events, the rock musical will bring tunes including 'Seasons of Love', 'Take Me or Leave Me' and 'La Vie Bohème' to Newcastle's Civic Theatre from Friday, March 15–Sunday, March 17.

If you need a refresher on the story — or you're coming to Rent for the first time, having missed past performances and the 2005 film version — then prepare to step back to New York in 1991. Over the course of the year, as their neighbourhood is being gentrified and HIV/AIDS casts a shadow, a group of friends chase their dreams and strive for their place in the world.

Top image: Wendell Teodoro.

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