2021 marks a major date in American theater history: the 25th anniversary of the opening of Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking rock musical Rent, which will be celebrated with a spectacular virtual event this week.
On Tuesday, March 2, beginning at 8 pm, New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) will hold an online fundraising gala to commemorate a quarter-century since the premiere of its Off-Broadway production of Rent in 1996. Set in an apartment in Alphabet City to an original rock music score, Larson’s contemporary adaptation of Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème soon transferred to Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre, where the Tony and Pulitzer Prize–winning musical enjoyed a twelve-year run, then toured the country and travelled around the world, playing to sold-out houses, rave reviews, and a new generation of engaged theater-lovers everywhere. Though, tragically, the playwright and composer didn’t live to see his success (he died of an aortic dissection on the morning of the NYTW opening), his legacy lives on in the trailblazing hit.
Produced in association with Heredia Vision and directed by Andy Señor, Jr., with musical supervision by Stephen Oremus, musical direction by Will Van Dyke, and video production and editing by ZANNI Productions, the special NYTW celebration – 25 Years of Rent: Measured in Love – will feature exclusive content on the show’s background, reflections on its ongoing impact on American musical theater, and a selection of its iconic songs. The star-studded line-up includes original cast members Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Fredi Walker-Browne, and Kristen Lee Kelly; a special segment with over 130 Rent alumni from productions around the world, including Jordan Fisher, Josh Grisetti, Brennin Hunt, Amber Iman, Amy Spanger, Taylor Trensch, and Mike Wartella; and original compositions by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Joe Iconis (Be More Chill), Rona Siddiqui, and The Lazours.
There will also be appearances by Broadway luminaries Ben Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Billy Porter, Annaleigh Ashford, Ali Stroker, and many more (including Sebastian Arcelus, Martha Banta, Adam Chanler-Berat, Linda Chapman, Nicholas Christopher, Paul Clay, Wilson Cruz, Brandon Victor Dixon, Wendy Ettinger, Stephen Graham, Michael Greif, Janet Harckham, Jeremy O. Harris, Neil Patrick Harris, Victoria Leacock Hoffman, Mariko Kojima, Julie Larson, Telly Leung, Kamilah Marshall, Kevin McCollum, Anaïs Mitchell, Shakina Nayfack, James C. Nicola, Dael Orlandersmith, Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Jai Rodriguez, Jeffrey Seller, Leigh Silverman, Ephraim Sykes, Bernie Telsey, Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Ivo van Hove, Tom Viola, Tim Weil, Angela Wendt, Marlies Yearby). So if you’d like to support the innovative work of the NYTW, join in the silver anniversary celebration of Rent, which will surely be measured in love by the artists and fans alike.
25 Years of Rent: Measured in Love streams live on Tuesday, March 2, at 8 pm, and will be available on demand through Saturday, March 6, 8 pm. For tickets (starting at $25, with options for higher-level packages and sponsorships), go online.