Jonathan Larson won the Pulitzer Prize for Rent, as well as Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Lyrics, and Best Musical, three Drama Desk Awards and numerous others. His “overnight success” came after fifteen years of writing, composing, and performing. He wrote the musical Superbia and the rock monologue tick, tick…BOOM! and composed a variety of music for children, including songs for “Sesame Street,” audio books, and the video Away We Go! Mr. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on January 25, 1996, the night before Rent‘s first performance. He was thirty-five.
In these pages, Rent offers what most theater books can’t: a chance to step behind the curtain and feel the electricity of a stage phenomenon as it unfolds.
Rent has single-handedly reinvigorated Broadway and taken America by storm. Sweeping all major theater awards, including the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for drama, as well as four 1996 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score for a Musical, Rent captures the heart and spirit of a generation, refleting it onstage through the emotion of its stirring words and music, and the energy of its young cast. Now, for the first time, Rent comes to life on the page — through vivid color photographs, the full libretto, and an utterly compelling behind-the-scenes oral history of the show’s creation. Here is the exclusive and absolutely complete companion to Rent, told in the voices of the extraordinary talent behind its success: the actors, the director, the producers, and the librettist and composer himself, Jonathan Larson, whose sudden death, on the eve of the first performance, has made Rent’s life-affirming message all the more poignant.