Despite the cover date, the magazine hit the stands May 6, just as the musical got 10 nominations for the 1996 Tony Awards. The already won the Pulitzer Prize and the 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Off-Broadway musical. The show transferred from off-Broadway to Broadway on April 29.
The story, by Jack Kroll, recounts the story of how composer/lyricist/librettist Jonathan Larson drew on his experiences in New York's punk East Village in adapting the story of La Boheme with an alternative-rock score -- then died of an aortic aneurysm the night after the final rehearsal.
Among interesting tidbits in the story:
* The show cost $3 million to mount, and has a $6 million advance sale. * David Geffen paid "just under a million dollars" to record the original cast album.
* Pop artists who want to record numbers from the show include Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Boyz II Men.
* Film rights are going for more than $3 million. Among bidders: Warner Brothers, Danny DeVito's Jersey Films, Fox 2000 and Columbia.
* Newsweek's package of stories includes a personal memoir by Larson's former roommate Gregory Beals that recounts Larson's illnesses during the last weeks of his life. He reports that Larson at one point thought he was having a heart attack, but a hospital ECG test came back negative, leading friends to believe his complaints were psychosomatic.