Prof. James Speese
October 14, 2014
Title: Rent: The Musical/Play
Topic: The History of Rent
Reasoning behind the order: Chronological order/ well natural flow from topic to topic
Intro: Jonathan Larson was born to Allan and Nanette Larson in Mount Vernon, New York, on February 4, 1960. After graduating from Adelphi University on Long Island, he moved to the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan and, over a period of 12 years, wrote many plays and musicals, including the off-Broadway hit "Tick...tick...BOOM!" It wasn't until 1994, however, that he began to work on what would be known as Rent. Finished in 1995, the musical was set to go into previews off-Broadway in early 1996. Rent, the musical, takes place in East Village, New York and focuses on the lives of 8 Bohemians and their struggles with sexuality, drugs, paying their rent, and life under the shadow of HIV/AIDS over a year.
Paragraph 1: Birth of Rent
Originally the idea for the musical was a playwright named Billy Aronson’s
He noticed some similarities between, an opera, La Boheme’s struggling artists in Paris and the struggling artists in America
Larson was suggested to him from Playwright Horizon
Eventually after working together for a few months Aronson’s let go of the project and let Larson have complete control
Paragraph 2: Reason behind title
Rent has a numerous amount of meanings.
Torn- torn between comfort and idealism, love and dignity, and fear of intimacy.
Payment- Month-to-month living because they are struggling to come up with the money to pay the rent for the place they are living. Ex. The song ‘I’ll Cover You’ because in the song ‘I think they meant it/When they said you can't buy love/Now I know you can rent it/A new lease you are my love/On life, be my life’
Emotional- Torn open by painful feelings, something every character in the show faces at some point.
Paragraph 3: Critics Responses
The most exuberant and original musical to come along in a decade
The most original musical to come alone in a decade if not decades
A raw and riveting milestone in musical theater
The New York Times
A landmark rock opera
The Wall Street Journal
Rent is the best musical since the 1950’s
Pretty much hates the play.( http://tech.mit.edu/V119/N29/Theater-_Rent.29a.html)
Paragraph 4: La Boheme
A group of starving artists try to survive in 1830s Paris, La Bohème is about the lives of poor young artists. Tuberculosis, the plague of Puccini's opera.
Differences Between La Boheme and Rent The opera’s poet Rodolfo became Roger the songwriter. Marcello the painter became Mark the filmmaker. Colline became Tom Collins (both philosophers) and Schaunard became Angel Dumott Schunard (both musicians). Musetta became Maureen the performance artist. Benoit the landlord became Benny the roommate turned landlord. Alcindoro the state councilor became Joanne the lawyer. And in Larson’s greatest departure, Mimi the embroideress became Mimi the S&M dancer. Mimi was the only one to have TB in La Boheme but in Rent 4 characters have HIV/AIDS.
While La Bohème romanticizes death (which was very trendy in 1896 when it premiered), Rent celebrates life with all its might, as evidenced by all the references to life in the show (the Life Café, the Angel’s group Life Support, and others). While Bohème is tragic, Rent is joyous. While Bohème’s bohemian world is romantic and poetic, the world of Rent is tough, gritty, angry, and real. While Bohème has "Musetta’s Waltz," Rent has the cynical "Tango Maureen." While Bohème observes the bohemians from a distance, Rent is written by a bohemian, someone who had trouble paying the rent, whose friends were dying of AIDS; and it fully inhabits that world.
Differences between the movie and play:
“Goodbye Love" was…