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RENT to Close on June 1, 2008

Following the initial report by The New York Times, Producers Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, and Allan S. Gordon have announced that the landmark Broadway musical Rent will close at the Nederlander Theatre after the evening performance on Sunday, June 1, 2008, after playing 5,012 performances and 16 previews.  Rent is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history and has grossed over $280 million during its Broadway run.

Rent, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, began Broadway previews on April 16, 1996 and officially opened at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, on April 29, 1996 following a history making, sold out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win countless musical theatre awards, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Rent's sadly ironic tragedy of course, is that its young creator, Jonathan Larson, never got to see his show's success, having died of an aortic aneurysm (possibly as a result of Marfan Syndrome) early morning January 25 after the show's final dress rehearsal the previous evening.  Both the show's resounding critical and audience response and its creator's tragic, untimely death attracted major media coverage.

Rent focuses on the life, love and trials of roommates Roger Davis, a struggling musician who's HIV+ hoping to write one last meaningful song before he dies, and Mark Cohen, a filmmaker and video artist. Roger meets and falls in love with Mimi Marquez, a club dancer with AIDS and a drug problem. The many friends and "family" members of Rent include iconic musical theatre characters like the loving drag-queen Angel, and his lover Tom Collins, an HIV+ computer genius.  Plus the love-tango with Mark's ex-girlfriend (and rebellious performance artisit) Maureen Johnson and her new lover, the hard-nosed lawyer Joanne.  This Bohemian family – who live for each moment of the day – battle Benjamin Coffin III, landlord and former-friend Mark and Roger's building, who wants to misplace penniless artists and homeless to construct a multimedia studio and destroying the East Village community.

The show was also responsible for helping to usher in a number of important changes to Broadway and its marketing, including the use of simpler, more contemporary advertising and logo design; the rebirth of 41 Street's Nederlander Theatre; a shop and windows at Bloomingdales that featured clothing inspired by the show and its costumes; the institution of same day front row seats priced at $20; and the appeal to and attraction of teen and college-age audiences.

As the first show to sell same day orchestra seats for $20, Rent attracted a huge number of repeat visitors who came to be known as Rentheads.  Many fans saw the show ten, twenty, or thirty times, and some as many as a hundred or more. 

The original cast of Rent included Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Adam Pascal.

Rent won the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Heredia).

Rent is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop.  Music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson with music arranged by Steve Skinner with additional arrangements by Tim Weil. Choreographed by Marlies Yearby; Assistant Director: Martha Banta.

Rent features a set design by Paul Clay; costume design by Angel Wendt; lighting design by Blake Burba; sound design by Kurt Fischer; wig, hair and make-up designed by David Santana.

In 2005 the screen adaptation of Rent was released by Columbia Pictures and starred a number of the show's original cast members.  The following year to celebrate the musical's tenth anniversary, Rent's original cast members reunited for a special one night-only, benefit concert version of the show at the Nederlander Theatre.

Stars from the world of pop music joined the Rent cast at various times during  its run, including Joey Fatone of N*Sync, Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees, Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls, and Frenchie Davis and Tamyra Gray of "American Idol."

Tours of Rent have crisscrossed the country almost continuously since late 1996 and the U.S. nationals tours have grossed over $330 million.  The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents, including in the following countries Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Rent currently plays at the Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41 Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm & 7pm.  Tickets may be purchased by visiting ticketmaster.com or by phoning TicketMaster at (212) 307-4100.  Visit the official Rent website at www.siteforrent.com

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