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September 7, 2008

Well, it’s happening. As of now, RENT is officially in its last performance on Broadway.

I remember  the first time I saw the play. Mom and I were in New York, and we were going to try to get tickets to The Little Mermaid. So we walked and walked, and as we were walking, I looked down a street to my left (41st, I think?)…And there it was. The famous, gleaming, brilliant Nederlander Theatre with the noticeable RENT sign dangling off the wall. RENT was the ONE thing I wanted to see in New York…and the ONE thing I knew Mom wouldn’t enjoy as much. But she went anyways, and we managed to get standing room tickets. Which wasn’t so bad! They’ were only $20. I remember being dubious about the show…but then…the lights dimmed. And the first lines, “December 24th, 9 pm., eastern standard time/From here on in, I shoot without a script/To see if anything comes of it/Instead of my old shit/) And that was it. I was completely captured. The memory makes my throat tighten, making me wish that I learned of its amazingness way earlier. RENT was the first play I saw on Broadway. It’s power caught me right in the first lyrics of “Rent”.

“How do you document real life,

When real life’s getting more like fiction each day?”

Beautiful. And that’s when it had me. The music, the beat, the THRUM in my chest. I closed my eyes for a split second before wrenching them open again to watch the magic happening on stage. It brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful. RENT may not be for everyone. But I think every should see it. The message is beautiful, poignant, important. The music is enthralling, something that cuts straight to the heart. The characters are relatable, plagued with problems that a lot of people may have. Starving artists, disease, friendship, love. SURVIVAL. Going against the grain. Holding on. Love. LOVE.

I can’t fully put in to words how important this play is to me. I will always remember the night I saw it, the wonder I felt, the tears that fell. The emotion and beauty and the noise.

If I could meet one person in my life, it would undoubtedly be Jonathan Larson. I finally know the answer to that question. He had to have been absolutely amazing. I just started learning more about him, and it makes me sad that I should come in on the tail end of RENT. I wish I could have met him, just so I could know a person that can inspire such beauty, such passion. How he started something so revolutionary, but unfortunately, was not around to witness its profound impact. I wonder what he would think, if he knows that RENT has survived so long on Broadway. I know he would be proud.

“The heart may freeze or it can burn,

The pain will ease, if I can learn,

There is no future,

There is no past.
I live this moment as my last.

There’s only us,

There’s only this,

Forget regret,

Or life is yours to miss,

No other road,

No other way,

NO DAY BUT TODAY.”

 

Thank you, Jonathan Larson.

 

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