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The Emergence of The Musical Rent Essay

Decent Essays
The Emergence of The Musical Rent

The 1996 hit musical RENT stars an amazing cast, each with his/her own powerful voice. This musical, Jonathan Larson’s first produced show, has become one of the biggest things ever on Broadway. The concept of the show is nothing immaculate. RENT is a musical updating La Boheme and setting it in NYC’s East Village on Christmas Eve. In the opera, the Parisians are afflicted with tuberculosis. This plague was modified to today’s equivalent of the AIDS virus. This rock musical has a majority of its cast “living with, not dying from disease.” We start out learning of Roger Davis who is an ex-junkie and a struggling musician. “His girlfriend April left a note saying ‘we’ve got AIDS’ before
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Mimi Marquez is a dancer at “The Cat Scratch Club,” a junkie who is also infected with the AIDS virus. She holds great priority in “feel[ing] good” from “getting dizzy,” since her troubles are forgotten when she is high. Mimi wishes that she could “find a bar so dark [she could] forget” how her life has been destroyed by being HIV positive and even further killed by using drugs. This show has a handful of “faggots, lezzies, dykes, cross dressers, too.” There is a lesbian couple consisting of Maureen Johnson, a “drama queen,” and Joanne Jefferson, a public interest lawyer. They publicly kiss and have episodes leaving most of the audience feeling a bit uncomfortable. Maureen presents a performance piece against commercial development and in support of aid to the homeless titled “leap of faith.” There are those in the play who are not so sympathetic to the homeless. Benjamin Coffin III, a former roommate, married well enough to become the landlord of the building they all once lived in. He claims to a “bum” to “move over [and] get [his] ass of [a] Range Rover,” even though “that attitude towards the homeless [was] just what Maureen” was protesting against. Even though there are characters, such as Angel and Collins who rescue a homeless woman from police harassment, the homeless are hardly grateful. They feel as if people are “just trying to use [them] to kill [their] guilt,” but can you really blame them for the negative tone?
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