Jonathan Larson spent seven years writing and rewriting his dream musical, the project he hoped would revitalize the American musical as an art form. The finished project, RENT, exceeded even Larson's grandiose expectations, winning a Pulitzer Prize and several Tonys, entering the pop-culture lexicon, and most importantly, inspiring younger generations of Americans to explore the wider world of musical theater. RENT continues to thrive: It's touring the country with original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal, Gwen Stewart and Anthony Rapp. Larson's bittersweet story borrows ideas from Puccini's La Bohème (which borrowed ideas from Henri Murger's La Vie de Bohème), but Larson sets it in the gritty East Village with which he was intimately familiar, and contemporizes the starving artists slightly. Instead of tuberculosis, RENT's singers and poets are HIV positive and their sexuality is a little more fluid, but the underpinnings of the story remain. Young people, ablaze with life and the urge to create, flame out and die with passion and their strength of their convictions intact. RENT is performed at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (June 2 through 7) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www.fabulousfox.com). Tickets are $24 to $64.
June 2-7, 2009