A reworking of Puccini’s opera La boheme, Rent paints a picture of life at the margins as experienced by a group of artists and musicians living in New York City’s Lower East Side at the peak of the AIDS crisis.
Arguably, Jonathan Larson’s multiple Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning sensation is as relevant today than ever.
Director Shaun Rennie’s production was a hit at the Hayes Theatre in 2015. Rent’s reputation was enough to guarantee a baseline audience for the but something else was working in its favour, Rennie believes. The plight of Larson’s creative, idealistic, financially insecure twenty-somethings clicked with Millenials.
“Rent is about living a life that is open to love and living for the moment but it was written as a response to what was going on in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and I think there is a similar sense of urgency being felt among young people today,” Rennie says. “It was a protest against what was happening in Regan-era America but I don’t think it’s hard to see the parallels between that situation and the one we’re living in now.”