By Kenneth Jones
30 Mar 2006
Invitations to the benefit performance and post-show gala have been circulating recently. Ticket prices for the 6:45 PM Monday April 24 event range $1,000 (for a single ticket and admission to an after-party at Cipriani 42nd Street) to $25,000 (for 10 tickets and table for 10, with extra amenities).
There will be a limited number of tickets at $20 each available for the April 24 benefit concert of Rent, according to The New York Theatre Workshop website. "These seats are located in the first two rows of the orchestra," according to NYTW. "They will be sold by lottery on the day of the performance, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery will be held on Monday, April 24 at the Nederlander Theatre, 208 West 41st Street."
Proceeds from the presentation will benefit The Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation (named for Rent's late creator), Friends in Deed (the human service and health organization) and New York Theatre Workshop (the not-for-profit theatre that premiered Rent, Off-Broadway).
Playbill.com has learned members of the current Broadway cast — as well as alumni of Broadway and touring companies — will participate in the celebration. How they may be incorporated into the performance is being kept under wraps.
Can't cough up $1,000 or snag a Rent lottery ticket April 24? Playbill.com has learned that the day after the benefit, on April 25, every seat for the Tuesday performance will be $20 on a first-come, first served basis (not a lottery). Sales are expected to begin the morning of April 25 for that night's performance, in-person only.
Since its start in 1996, Rent has been a leader in the idea of making affordable seats available on Broadway. People still gather at the box office daily to put their names into a ticket lottery that could snag them $20 seats in the first two rows of the Nederlander. Those rows are often filled with the house's most vocal people — diehard fans of the rock musical that was inspired by La Boheme.
Scheduled to appear in the special concert April 24 are original Rent-ers Gilles Chiasson, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rodney Hicks, Kristen Lee Kelly, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Aiko Nakasone, Timothy Britten Parker, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gwen Stewart, Byron Utley and Fredi Walker-Browne.
Allan S. Gordon, James L. Nederlander and Jonathan M. Tisch are benefit co-chairs and Target is the benefit event sponsor, with the support of the Rent Broadway producers Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum and Allan S. Gordon.
Rent's musical director is Tim Weil. Michael Greif is Rent's director. Both are expected to oversee the April 24 concert.
More details about the celebrations are expected to be announced shortly.
If you are seeking an invitation to attend the performance at the $1,000-$25,000 range, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and include a mailing address.
Composer-lyricist-librettist Jonathan Larson died of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm the day before his show was to start Off-Broadway. He was 35 and did not live to see the work win the 1996 Pulitzer Prize, the 1996 Best Musical Tony Award and Tonys for Best Book and Best Score.