The night of Jan. 25, 30 minutes before the audience walked in,the cast, crew, and producers of Rent gathered with the family and friends of Jonathan Larson at New York's Nederlander Theatre in observance of the first anniversary of the composer/playwright's death.
Larson died Jan. 25, 1996, ten days before his 36th birthday, of an aortic aneurysm on the eve of the opening of his musical's Off-Broadway run at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Larson was subsequently honored posthumously with the Pulitizer Prize and the Tony, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics Circle, and Obie Awards.
Larson's mother, father, and sister spoke warmly of the cast, who have become like an extended family.
Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and other cast members had loving words of remembrance for Larson. A riveting moment occurred when the cast sang "Seasons of Love," the Act Two opener of the musical, in tribute to Larson.
Tears flowed as the cast invited guests onstage for five minutes of silence. The observance ended with everyone exchanging embraces.
-- By Ellis Nassour