I'VE HAD MANY CELEBRATIONS LATELY. My son, his sister, their two moms, my partner and I celebrated my son's Bar Mitzvah last April. This marks his transition from childhood to adolescence and marks the moment when my son's need to be taken care of changes to his need to take care of others and embrace adult responsibilities.
I feel like Jonathan's beautiful musical is celebrating a similar transformation. For me, this is Rent's Quinceañera (okay, almost — I first started working with Jonathan and Jim Nicola on a workshop production early in '94). After tending to Rent's extraordinary birth at the New York Theatre Workshop and its amazing life here at the Nederlander, its time for Jonathan's magnificent work to go out and conquer the world.
Like all of you, it grieves me that Jonathan isn't here to enjoy this celebration, but I know he'd be pleased with how his legacy's been cared for. And I know he'd be thrilled to imagine the thousands of upcoming productions in high schools, colleges, regional theaters, community centers, summer camps and opera houses here and around the world for many decades to come. He would thrill to the millions who will get to glimpse his unique view of New York in the early 90's, and be moved by the struggles of the close friends that inspired him.
I know I speak for every musician, singer, actor, director, music director, choreographer, designer, stage manager, crew person, company manager, usher, press rep, marketer, general manager, producer and more when I assert that everyone who gets to work on Rent grows personally and artistically. Our hearts get bigger, more open. Our minds get sharper. We're better equipped to take care of our children and our parents and our friends and the world. We've learned to measure our lives in love, and take no joy or sorrow for granted.