Lyricist-librettist-composer Jonathan Larson based his work on the Puccini opera La Boheme, about passion and loss among bohemians in Paris. He set it in New York City's East Village, and the tragedy of one of the characters in the opera would be reflected in Larson's life. He died of a heart ailment the night before the work's first preview at New York Theatre Workshop. Awards (including the Tony for Best Musical and the Pulitzer for Drama) and a long life on Broadway, on tour, around the world and on film, would follow. (After a run of more than 12 years, the Broadway production closed in September 2008.)
Original Tony-nominated director Michael Greif (Next to Normal) returns to the project, but with a fresh approach. He told Playbill magazine this summer, "Over the years that I've watched the show, there were things I wanted to change. When we did it internationally or for tours, I made changes. This seemed like a chance for an overhaul. Working with a new choreographer, on a new set with new costumes and a new projection design, really invigorated me."
Greif's cast at Off-Broadway's New World Stages (where it officially opens Aug. 11) includes Adam Chanler-Berat, late of Next to Normal and Peter and the Starcatcher, as documentary filmmaker Mark Cohen; Wicked alumna Annaleigh Ashford (Maureen Johnson); Margot Bingham (Alexi Darling, Roger's Mom, and others); Nicholas Christopher (Tom Collins); Arianda Fernandez (Mimi Marquez); Marcus Paul James (Mr. Jefferson, Paul, and others); Tamika Sonja Lawrence (Mrs. Jefferson, woman with bags); Corbin Reid (Joanne Jefferson); Michael Rodriguez (Angel Schunard); Matt Shingledecker (Roger Davis); Ephraim Sykes (Benjamin Coffin III); Ben Thompson (Christmas caroler, Mr. Grey, The Man, and others); Michael Wartella (Steve, Gordon, Waiter, and others); and Morgan Weed (Mark's Mom and others). Also in the company are Sean Michael Murray, Xavier Cano and Genny Padilla.
Greif's creative team includes choreographer Larry Keigwin; music supervisor Tim Weil; set designer Mark Wendland; costume designer Angela Wendt; lighting designer Kevin Adams; sound designer Brian Ronan; and projection designer by Peter Nigrini. New World Stages is at 340 W. 50th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.
Rent performs Mondays and Wednesday through Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.
Preview prices are $65-$85; prices after Aug. 12 are $69.50-$89.50.
Tickets may be purchased by visiting siteforrent.com or telecharge.com; by phoning (212) 947-8844; or by going to the New World Stages box office.
For box office hours visit newworldstages.com/boxoffice.html. For more information about Rent, visit siteforrent.com.