The show burst upon the theater scene after its creator, Larson, died suddenly on the eve of the show's first performance off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in January 1996. The show then opened to raves on Broadway, winning that year's Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. New York Times critic Ben Brantley raved that Rent "shimmers with hope for the future of the American musical."
I've seen Rent at least three times...I think maybe four...
This show will always have a special place in my heart. It speaks so clearly to the themes of love, loss, and friendship via the moving and beautiful music of Jonathan Larson. I remember seeing for the first time at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and bawling like a baby, yet left the theatre renewed and hopeful. This cast recording is still a must on my iPod.
Rent will play it's final performance at the Nederlander Thatre on September 7th. If you can't get to NYC to see this show, do yourself a favor and see one of the many touring companies around the US.