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VIDEO: On This Day, February 13: RENT Makes Its Off-Broadway World Premiere at New York Theatre Workshop

On this day in 1996, the beloved rock musical, Rent, made its off-Broadway premiere at New York Theatre Workshop.

Loosely based on Puccini's La Boheme, RENT was written by 29-year-old composer, Jonathon Larson, whose ultimate dream was to write a rock opera that would bring musical theatre to the MTV generation. He set the play amid poverty and homelessness in the then rough East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

The landmark rock musical went on to win numerous theatre awards including several Tony awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The production also launched the careers of Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Rosario Dawson, Adam Pascal, and Taye Diggs. Sadly, Larson never saw the show rise to success as he died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm the morning of the Off Broadway opening.

RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters-love.

Celebrate the world premiere of this landmark musical with archived footage of the show's original Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, singing one of the show's signature staples, Out Tonight, below!

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From This Author Alexa Criscitiello


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