Two of the most influential musicals of the 1990s, Rent and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk opened within days of one another on April 29 and April 25, 1996, respectively. Both are now headed for their 1000th performances in September, placing both in the ranks of Broadway's longest running productions.
Rent will mark its 1000th show Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1998 according to a production spokesperson; Noise/Funk will celebrate its Broadway milestone Sept. 24.
To help the audience join in the festivities, cake will be served to one and all at the Tuesday night show. The following day, Rent's cast will help Habitat For Humanity and Target stores build a house in Queens, NY, for a family in need. According to the Richard Kornberg press office, Habitat for Humanity is "a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry..." that seeks to eliminate homelessness. So far, the group has built more than 65,000 houses. It's an appropriate charity for Rent, since the show looks at East Village squatters who chant, "we're not gonna pay last year's rent!"
The producers of Rent also have reason to celebrate, since their protracted battle with dramaturg Lynn Thomson came to an end Aug. 27. Thomson was seeking the financial compensation and creative credit due a co-author, rather than just the fee the Larson estate offered for her dramaturgical work.
Neither Larson's attorneys at Parcher, Hayes & Liebman, nor Thomson attorney Russell Alexander Smith would comment on the terms of the settlement. The NY Post reported (Sept. 9) that Thomson will receive several hundred thousand dollars, a percentage of worldwide royalties, and "title page credit" for her contribution to the show. On Friday, June 19, NY's Second Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court decision that Lynn Thomson was not an official co-author of the Rent, denying the dramaturg an automatic 16 percent share of the royalties. The decision was handed down by justices Guido Calabresi, Wilfred Feinberg and Myron Bright.
Please see previous Playbill On-Line coverage of the Rent suit for the back-story on this trial.
In other Rent news, Idina Menzel, the original Maureen, made her debut as a solo recording artist Sept. 15, when Hollywood Records released Still I Can't Be Still. Menzel was one of several members of the Rent cast -- including Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega -- whose background was steeped more in rock music than theatre.