When Rent closes at the Nederlander Theatre on September 7, 2008 after more than 5000 performances and grosses of over $280 million, it will be the seventh longest running show in Broadway history. Rent premiered in 1996, and tells the story of a group of struggling artists and friends dealing with life and love in New York’s Alphabet City. In addition to the Broadway production and a 2005 film version featuring most of the original cast, Rent productions have been mounted on six continents, allowing the show to gain devoted fans (known as “Rent-heads”) around the world.
"Rent brought the stories of a diverse and compelling group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters to life for audiences all over the world," says GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. "Now that local high school productions and community theaters are putting on their own productions, an even wider audience will be exposed to these powerful stories."
The musical offers a variety of notable LGBT representations, with two gay relationships featured prominently. In one pairing, a lesbian lawyer works through a rocky romance with a bisexual female performance artist. In the other, a HIV-positive male professor falls in love with a drag queen living with AIDS. The professor must later cope with heartbreak after his lover’s death. Critical issues and realities that arise in the musical include usage of and references to antiretroviral medicine, frequent and honest dialogues about gay and lesbian relationships, and attention to the importance of HIV and AIDS support groups.
"GLAAD applauds the cast and crew of Rent for their spectacular 12-year run," says Giuliano, "and for contributing high profile lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters and storylines to musical theater history."
For a timeline of major events in Rent history, please click here.
And for a full guide to all things Rent, please click here.