RENT: Your First Time

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EugLoven
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RENT: Your First Time#1
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:32am
RENT will close on September 7, 2008.

While there may be several threads on this subject buried in the threads... There is an over-whelming general feeling now that the news is official. So let's start fresh and new.

Please share your first-time experience with RENT. Where and when and with whom? What did it mean to you? Have you ever seen the show or lived your whole life just singing the music?
How has this musical affected your life?

MY FIRST TIME
Sophomore year of college, 2004, the non-Equity tour of RENT visited the American Musical Theatre of San Jose. On a whim, my close friends Topher and Rachel and I bought tickets to drive from San Francisco on a random evening and caught an evening performance from the nose-bleeds of the balcony.

I remember the Mark was very cute. I cried my eyes out during "I'll Cover You (Reprise)" but most distinctly I remember walking in and seeing the long yellow power-cord hanging from the ceiling and knowing that this was it. I was finally seeing RENT.

For years, my parents refused to let me see the musical (despite the long-time San Francisco sit-down production) because it was "too depressing" and dealt with heavy themes... inappropriate for a scared closeted boy like me.

When I finally went to college, my freshman year, the world of musical theatre exploded for me... Upon learning that I didn't know anything about RENT, Topher tore-up my gay-card and threw it in my face. Then he took me under his wing, showed me the light, and I realized why he ripped that thing up!

Updated On: 9/7/08 at 12:32 AM
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re: RENT: Your First Time#3
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:38am
I saw for the first time when the tour came to Kansas City, Missouri at Starlight Theatre which seats around 8,000 people (it's an outdoor theatre). I went with my a few friends. I loved it because I always liked the music. I was excited to see it, the first act was wonderful. Second act started with Seasons of Love. After that number the rest of the act just dragged.

I wanted to see it on Broadway after that. I believe the energy would have been different for me.

But hope the rest of the run goes fantastic for Rent! You will forever remain on my iPod :)


Broadway Shows I've Seen: Hairspray, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors (2003), The Wedding Singer, Spamalot, Riverdance, Rent, Beauty and the Beast, Spring Awakening, Wicked, Legally Blonde, Phantom of the Opera, Sweet Charity (revival), Drowsy Chaperone, The Lion King, Dreamgirls(2010 Tour).
Updated On: 1/16/08 at 12:38 AM
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re: RENT: Your First Time#4
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:38am
1996...I was so young but was so in love with it's message. It took me away from kids at school who were mean and threw me into a wonderful piece of work and made me truly decide what I wanted to do with my life which was perform and make others laugh and cry like the OBC did for me....many times. I also formed so many relationships with other fans who felt the same way. The show also opened me up to real life issues I hadn't been opened up to such as Aids, Homosexuality, Homelessness...etc... Seeing the show got me through a lot.
Updated On: 1/16/08 at 12:38 AM
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re: RENT: Your First Time#6
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:40am
June 28th 2003 was my first of six Broadway experiences with Rent. It was good and still remained entertaining, but Adam and Anthony gave my last viewing of Rent the way I wanted it to be. They had a good run, but I don't think it affected me more than any other show has from the past 3 decades.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#4
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:46am
Mine was 7? years ago? Whenever Neil Patrick Harris did it on the West Coast at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Updated On: 1/16/08 at 12:46 AM
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re: RENT: Your First Time#6
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:50am
Way back in 1996, when you could wait in the line. I've seen the show 171 times and havent seen it since the 10th anniversary concert. I dont know if I can deal with seeing it again, don't want a bad cast to ruin it. RENT used to be such an amazing show. While it is still a good show it ISN'T the amazing show it used to be.

Hearing this news makes me incredibly sad. Times change.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#7
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:50am
Sorry... I just thought it was petty to have the first five posts about spelling... Can you please add in that Rent link again, Patronus? As I'm sure a lot people would like to click.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#9
Posted: 1/16/08 at 12:54am
June 1999.

I fell in love with the music immediately. But i remember moreso looking at my playbill on the subway ride home and me and my then-gf noticing how INSANELY talented the understudies were: Yassmin Alers and Shayna Steele stick out, but there were more. Jim Poulos blew me away, Kenna Ramsey gave me chills.... i was just so blown away by the talent on the stage.

that talent has dissipated, come and gone. but that first experience sticks with me. just so effected by the raw talent and power coming off that stage.

its LONG overdue but its time. goodbye, rent, goodbye.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#10
Posted: 1/16/08 at 1:03am


My first time seeing it was the tour at Chicago's Shubert Theater on Sunday, November 9, 1997. I read about the show coming to Chicago earlier that year, and I bought the cd and I got hooked on the songs, and I went with my old grade school friends to see it (I was 20 at the time) and we all just fell in love with it. This was before that dumb RENT-head term came into use.

I remember Thanksgiving 1997, I opened the Chicago Tribune that morning and I saw an ad for an added performance of RENT for Thanksgiving night--November 27, 1997. RENT was sold out for weeks at that time, so I called up my cousins and I said "we have got to see RENT tonight after dinner! And so my grandma bought us the tickets and we went. I remember New Year's Eve, 1997, I laid on my bed and listened to the entire OBCR from start to finish before I went to my friend's party. I saw the tour with other friends on January 27, 1998, and March 12, 1998.

My first trip to New York was in December of 1998, and of course I bought tickets to the Broadway production of RENT. I saw it on Thursday, December 17, 1998. I sat in the second row of the Mezz, and I couldnt have been more excited. I remember through the whole show, I could not believe the way people were cheering and hooting and hollering like it was a concert. In Chicago, the audiences were quiet and reserved. The energy of the audience that night renewed my love for RENT.

The RENT tour came back to Chicago in 1999, and I got to see it again with my grade school friends on October 7, 1999, again at the Shubert. It was so great to see it again. But I remember when I went back to my car after the show, the passenger window was smashed and my car was broken into.

The RENT tour returned to Chicago again, but this time at the awful Rosemont Theater. (think of the Minskoff or Gershwin Theater, only 10 times worse) I saw it on October 7, 2000. The show did not belong in that antiseptic, suburban environment. For all of you who complain about how skanky the Nederlander Theater is, try seeing RENT at the Rosemont Theater and you'll be begging to go back to the Nederlander.

Well, in 2001 I moved to the east coast for graduate school, and on my weekend visit to Seton Hall University, I got tickets to RENT for Sunday, April 29, 2001. Little did I know that it was the 5th anniversary! The cast made a little speech afterwards, and I remember them saying "here's to another 5 years on Broadway" and I thought wow I sure hope this show does last another 5 years.

I saw RENT again on June 19, 2003, after a day of walking around the city. I bought the ticket at the TKTS booth. This was my first time seeing the show post 9/11, and the line "I'm a New Yorker-fear's my life' took on a whole new meaning. The line no longer referred to street crime; it now referred to terrorism.

I saw RENT again on Friday, April 8, 2005. I took a new friend to see it this time, and we had 3rd row seats. I didnt know him that well, and I couldn't believe how much he cried and how loudly he cried at Angel's death and when Mimi lay dying. I was thoroughly embarrassed because people were turning around, pointing, snickering. Wow.

I also saw RENT another time in spring 2005, and that was when I was assaulted outside the theater, which I just wrote about in a recent RENT post, so I wont relate the story again. But, it was so upsetting that I did throw out that particular RENT ticket.

On Friday, October 7th, 2005, I took my first group of students to see RENT. It was 7 junior boys. When we sat down in the Mezz, a woman behind us asked my kids if they were a basketball team. My students all looked at each other with puzzled faces and said "no we're not" to her, and then they whispered to me to wonder why should would think that they were a basketball team, and they decided it was probably because they were all black. It turned out the woman worked at Purdue University, and she gave all my kids her business card. She also apologized for her basketball team remark before the show.

I saw RENT on August 29, 2006. This was one of those shows where I thought "uh oh..........there are some problems up on that stage"

Same with the November 2, 2006 performance. Why did the ensemble seem so bored? Why was the Take me or leave me number so down??

One of my seniors started to really get into guitar playing, so he asked me to take him to RENT on February 24, 2007. We had really good seats, and he closely identified with Roger...except for that whole AIDS thing.

March 29, 2007.........just another performance. How precious it seems now.

Monday August 6, 2007. Adam and Anthony!!!! Who would have thought I'd ever get to see them. It was so exciting to see them, so exciting to hear them. Adam just rocked the house, but Anthony's performance was mediocre at best. But wow the audience cheering for them, especially when Adam dropped the Captain Crunch box and stuff like that.....wow what a night.

September 27, 2007, I went to see Adam and Anthony again, but Adam was out. Still it was fun to see Anthony again.

That was my last time seeing RENT. I don't want to see it again now that it is closing. It will be too hard to watch. As I've said before, RENT was like comfort food.....you dont always feel like it, but darn it it sure is nice to go back to once in a while........and its even nicer to know that it will always be there.........or so I thought. : (

Updated On: 1/16/08 at 01:03 AM
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re: RENT: Your First Time#11
Posted: 1/16/08 at 1:26am
'98
Had a callback for the tour.
The casting director was giving me notes and explaining things to me-Style, intent,etc. She then just made a comment which I interpretted as her thinking that I had seen the show-which I hadn't. I told her I hadn't and she got on her cell (Which I thought was awesome at the time since I couldn't afford one!) and arranged for house seats for me for the following evening. I saw it and I loved it! And it was free
p.s. I didn't get the show, but that hasn't stopped Bernard Telsey from calling me in every year or so to hang the carrot on the stick again. I feel like a mistress who tells herself for years that her married boyfriend will leave his wife... Oh Bernie you do me so right but so wrong!!!
Sorry it's getting late...
Other than that, did you enjoy the play Mrs Lincoln?
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re: RENT: Your First Time#12
Posted: 1/16/08 at 2:08am
November '05, senior year of high school (early november, before the movie came out) with a bunch of my friends

I have loved Rent ever since my sister shared it with me in 8th grade. But my parents had refused to buy me tickets for it. I finally was able to convince them to let me go with friends.

And Oh my god. AMAZING. I was in Center Orch, Row E, which were great seats. I loved every moment of it, and I remember crying my eyes out from "Without You" on, bawling during I'll Cover You reprise.

I saw it again this summer, during the Adam and Anthony run. I was the 2nd to last row in the Mezz, but I was center, so it was still great seats. It was simply amazing to see those two in their roles. Tamayra was a decent Mimi, and I had seen Merle as Joanne my first time, and she was equally as good as she was previously. It was also so cool to see the Nederlander so packed with so much energy radiating from the fans (even if some of them were slightly annoying with the fangirling).

But overall, my Rent experiences were great, and I will be sad to see this show go!
-If you don't like your fate, change it. You are your own master.- Aida
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re: RENT: Your First Time#13
Posted: 1/16/08 at 2:54am
To me RENT was a show that as another poster said was comfort food.

I first saw the show in the winter of 05. There were some kids in the drama club that I was part of talk about it. I hadn't seen it and I was curious. I loved rock and roll and the original Tommy album was ( and still is) my all time favorite album. So, I thought I would give this a shot. I went with my mother who saw this twice before. She would have given anything to not see it the third time but she let me pick the show at TKTS.

I remember falling in love with it the minuet I saw it. That night was a bit of a blur.

But, I listend to the CD a few times to help me follow up on the bits of story line I had trouble figuring out at first. My mom didn't want me to be going into times square at all on my own at that time. So, I tried to find away to go again. My dad took me and we loved it.

Over the years I have seen it many many many times. I never became part of the whole Renthead thing. Because to me that is no different the the teenybopper groupies. I always went alone saw the show quitely and went home.

I have seen the show 30 times in the course of 3 years. It has been an amazing three years. I am very very sad to see this go.

Rent has always been a show that is always there for me. I fully got and related to the message and still do.

It was the show that got me through some tough times and was a light at the end of the tunnel. I am so sad to see this one go.

My only reminder of it is going to be the sh*tty movie of it.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
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re: RENT: Your First Time#14
Posted: 1/16/08 at 3:40am
Here is the blog I posted on MySpace:

RENT is closing in June. How surreal is that?!?! I still remember rushing home from Record Town in the Grand Central Mall with breahtless anticipation, ripping open the just released Cast Recording, loading it in my player and for two hours (while reading along with the libretto booklet included with the CDs) being transported to the bohemian world of Alphabet City. I sobbed throughout the second act. This was in the summer of 1996 after having seen the amazing cast perform on the Tony Awards.

Flash forward to October and there I am arriving at the disgusting building my school in NYC was forcing me to live in for the first time and as I checked in, the music was blaring. I felt like it was welcoming me, finally, home. This was on a Wednesday and that Saturday night I sat in the mid mezzanine at the Nederlander Theatre and let the show wash over me. It was one of the rare moments in theater where you're so moved there are no words to describe it.

Now here we are, 12 years and multiple viewings later and the show still has that same affect on me. Even the movie (though to a lesser degree) gets me. And yes, I still sob throughout Act 2 every time. Through it all - the stunt casting, the less than great casts, the long rush ticket lines, the insane fangirls and boys who almost made me turn away from this beautifully crafted slice of life - I have had love. Now it's leaving. I can't even begin to describe how I feel about the show going away. I realize (to quote from "Chess") "nothing is so good it lasts eternally," and I truly believe Jonathan Larson's amazing message will be carried on in other productions around the world for years to come, but knowing that soon there will be a New York City without this show is hard to think about. I didn't even realize how hard this would hit me until I read the news.

Well, farewell dear friend. May the future hold wonderful things for you.

"...forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way. No day but today!"
<-- Tevye, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, March 2018
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re: RENT: Your First Time#15
Posted: 1/16/08 at 3:49am
My first time was back in 1996 when I was just eleven years old.

RENT was the first show I ever saw on Broadway and even though I didn't fully understand what was happening on stage...I knew I loved it.

I remember loving musicals and my mom, knowing this, bought us tickets to see RENT. The show had just opened on Broadway two months prior and this was my eleventh birthday present. I was so ecstatic. I prepared for WEEKS for the experience.

Walking into the theatre I remember just being in awe of everything. I was so excited to experience my first Broadway show and I was so excited that it was going to be RENT.

The show started and I instantly had goosebumps. I don't think they left until the final curtain.

Even though I was only eleven and didn't really understand the context of the jokes, situations, deaths, etc...I knew that what was unravelling before me was amazing and seeing the original cast was one of the most cherished experiences I will ever have.

After seeing that show I knew that THAT was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Although RENT has now become sort of a cliche...it is still an amazing cult classic with a wonderful story. It started my story...my passion to want to pursue musical theatre for the rest of my life.

This story may be way corny, but I will always hold RENT dear to my heart because it started so many passions in my life.

I'm not going to lie...come June 1st I may be a wreck.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#16
Posted: 1/16/08 at 3:54am
I was first introduced to Rent in 1996. My sister (who is a singer but is not a musical theater person by any stretch of the imagination... she finds it slightly obnoxious, actually) was absolutely obsessed with the show went it first came out. She and her friends would listen to it all the time, sing it all the time, and see it all the time. I remember sitting in her room with her and listening to a really pretty song over and over with her, which I would later learn was "Seasons of Love."

Many years later, I was re-introduced to Rent through friends of mine who knew it. I told my sister how much I loved the music and she thought it was great, and slightly surreal, that a new generation was obsessed with the show. (She has since outgrown her obsession with the show, but can still recite every lyric.)

I saw the show for the first and only time in my freshman year of college. A friend of mine had the idea to go, so we went a bought discounted tickets that ended up being third row orchestra, dead center. I was mesmerized by the show and will never forget that experience.

As a side note, when I was first introduced to the cast recording of Wicked, I thought that the woman playing Elphaba sounded familiar and looked familiar, at least in the pictures in the booklet. When I researched the name Idina Menzel, I realized that she was in Rent and that she looked familiar because she was the woman that I would refer to as "the girl with the huge mouth" on the cover of the Rent CD when I was young.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#17
Posted: 1/16/08 at 5:54am
November 1997 ~ Tour at the National Theatre in DC. It was my first year in seminary, and I treated myself to a mezzanine seat. Loved it!!

First time in NYC was June 18, 2006. I'd been in Manhattan at Bryant Park for the PrideWeek kick-off rally and was walking home I hadn't realized they had Sunday night performances until I saw the group of people out for the lottery. I randomly decided to try it and to my complete surprise, I won! Such a great start to my life in NYC!!
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re: RENT: Your First Time#18
Posted: 1/16/08 at 6:19am
KUDOS to all who can even remember when/where they saw their first production.

While I do not remember the exact circumstances surrounding my first introduction to the show, I do remember that I was much younger, and found myself standing outside a theater in Toronto one Saturday morning with a good friend, because we heard this new show contained "rock" music, and was pretty radical accoridng to the reviews.

More importantly, they were going to sell us tickets for the FRONT ROW for $10 just for waiting in line! HAHA!

I remember we didn't quite know what to make of it while it was going on, but then played the recording of it over and over again for weeks, acting out every scene in the basement with other friends who had seen it. It must have been pretty good.

Little did we know...
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re: RENT: Your First Time#19
Posted: 1/16/08 at 6:45am
I saw it two years into the run and left the theatre with a headache. It had become, you see, IMPORTANT, and the way the company responded was to play everything REALLY LOUD, because, after all, it was supposed to be a ROCK MUSICAL and you cant really appreciat ROCK MUSIC unless it's REALLY, REALLY LOUD.

A friend got me the OBCR as a joke one Christmas, and it took six months before I decided to play it. I was surprised to discover that rhere was actually some decent writing in it, but in performance it was buried under all the REALLY LOUDNESS that you couldnt tell.

Honestly, I doubt it's a show that will ever see a revival, save as a curiosity piece. It's very time and site specific and even now feels a little dated. But it did (in its own LOUD way) change our perceptions of commercial theatre and its potential. Cant say I'll miss it, because I wont, and cant say it was emotionally earth-shaking, because it wasnt. But it hung in there for a long time, and one has to honour at least the inertia that takes.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#20
Posted: 1/16/08 at 7:46am
I was in the fourth grade when I first discovered Rent. They were giving out these bookmarks about stuff related to the year 1997 and I heard the word theater, so I rushed up to grab it (I remember that the teacher ripped up the one about movies cuz Titanic was mentioned. Guess she didn't like it that much). Rent was one of the two musicals mentioned, the other being Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk. Seemed interesting. Then I got the CD of Broadway Kids and one of the songs they sang was Seasons of Love from Rent. I almost cried when I heard the song. Then I heard Seasons of Love by the real cast on 88.9 WERS. So I started doing research here and there. It wasn't until seventh or eighth grade that I finally listened to the CD and I admit, I was put off at best by a lot of the material (I was a kid). Then, in 2005, I found out me and my parents were going to New York and I thought, "We should go see Rent." So we bought the CD and I finally fell in love with the show. I saw the show in February of 2005. I remember not being too crazy about Roger (It was that Carey Shields guy) and Drew Lachey was playing Roger so how memorable could HE have been? But I remember that even though it was 2005, the show struck me as fresh and the cast struck me as energetic. I almost cried when Angel and Collins shared that first kiss cuz it was such a beautiful moment. I also almost cried when I saw the empty spot where Angel stood when the company lined up for I'll Cover You (reprise). I thought the show was amazing and for a while, it was my favorite show next to Wicked.

Then The Light in the Piazza changed my ways. Now my two favorite shows are Dreamgirls and Parade.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#21
Posted: 1/16/08 at 8:10am
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Dang! It is going to be a sad day for me. I am obsessed with the show, and music.

BTW, I found a very cool site, called GiftMonkey. You can post your link in threads, and the more times your link gets clicked, the better prize you win. I am aiming to win a MacBook, as you can see in the link above (re: RENT: Your First Time). Once you click on that link, you can choose to do the same thing I am doing (trying to get people to click on your link). On the site, they have alot of things you can win. (MacBook, Wii, PS3, XBox360, Cash ...) Please once you click it, sign up, and do as many offers on the site you possibly can!! Thanks so much for your help!
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re: RENT: Your First Time#22
Posted: 1/16/08 at 8:25am
When and Where:
First preview of the National Tour of Rent, on it's first stop in San Francisco. Circa 1999.

Who:
Trey Ellet, Dean Balkwill, Erin Keany, SHaun Early, Daphne Rubin Vega in a much-publicized return, and others whom I don't recall.

I was the senior class token musical theatre dork. I spent my free time playing Parade and Songs For A New World on the piano in the theatre (BEFORE the music of JRB was trendy, I might add :), and Alice Ripley & Emily Skinner's Unsuspecting Hearts was at the top of my play list. I had friends in theatre, friends who weren't in theatre, and had just gotten over a major case of the closet the year before, and I was headed to NYU the following year to study Dramatic Writing and be a musical theatre writer and take over the world.

There are those who generalize Rent as "that musical about sex and AIDS". But when I was this eighteen-year-old Baptist-raised first-generation Asian American from an uppper-middleclass suburb, who admittedly knew little of either, and what I saw was two and a half hours of raw emotion and inspiration. I'd listen to the cast recording 525,600 times. I knew what was coming. But there were just so many moments - the final counterpoint during "Another Day", Angel's funeral, the first time I actually heard the opening chords to "Seasons of Love" played by the band and everyone form the line which has more of place in my heart than Michael Bennet's - that gave me goosebumps, and to this day, I can't say why, except that, to quote Jonathan Larson, it made me certain that I want to spend my time this way.
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re: RENT: Your First Time#23
Posted: 1/16/08 at 8:34am
Front row seats we got from TKTS in the early 2000s for my father's birthday - he wanted to see it, having borrowed the album from the library and loved it.

I didn't have much interest. The show was quite enjoyable, and a young understudy named Sebastian Arcelus was on as Roger. There was a school group (or some group) which did a workshop with the cast prior to the show, also in the front section of the orchestra. And the group played the game "let's see who we can make laugh first." Seasons of Love was a crack-up fest.

Good times.
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obsessedjb
Broadway Legend
joined:8/3/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/3/06
re: RENT: Your First Time#24
Posted: 1/16/08 at 8:35am
I don't remember--long time ago. It was with Tim Howar and Matt Caplan though.
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Fantabulous428
Broadway Legend
joined:10/30/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/30/04
re: RENT: Your First Time#25
Posted: 1/16/08 at 9:57am
Heh, long time ago would be ten years ago re: RENT: Your First Time Howar/Caplan are definitely in the past two years time frame.
I recognize the addiction to being alive.