“Nine hundred thirty thousand, one hundred eighty minutes.
“That’s how you measure the total running time 'Rent' will have played on Broadway when, as the producers said on Tuesday, it closes after its evening performance on June 1, making it the seventh-longest-running Broadway show in history.
“But the length of its run is not nearly as significant as the kind of show it was. An East Village rock version of Puccini’s opera “La Bohème,” “Rent” brought a youthful energy--and young theatergoers--to Broadway, to a degree not seen since 'Hair.' It also brought with it a real-life story so affecting that it would have overwhelmed the musical itself had the substance of the musical not been so intertwined with the story of its creation.
“'Rent,' directed by Michael Greif, exploded onto Broadway... on April 16, 1996, turning members of its mostly obscure cast into stars. It went on to win four Tony Awards, including best musical, and the Pulitzer Prize.
“The original cast, which included the now familiar names Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, suddenly appeared everywhere, including the cover of Newsweek, marking the first time since 'A Chorus Line' that a Broadway musical was on the cover of a national newsmagazine.
“'Rent,' which cost $240,000 to put up downtown, has gone on to gross more than $280 million on Broadway and another $330 million on the road. Productions have been mounted on six continents. A movie version of the show, which starred almost all of the original cast, opened in 2005, although it was a box-office failure...”
-- “Nearly 12 Years Old, ‘Rent’ Is to Close”
PLUS: “Seasons of Love,” by the cast of “Rent”-Manila, with Bituin Escalante and Boyd Tinio as soloists. Also featuring ManMan Angsico, Michael de Mesa, Beatrice Gomez, Carlo Ledesma, Calvin Millado, Ariel Reonal, JM Rodriguez, Gloria Sicam, Amparo Sietereales and Joel Trinidad.
[1st photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]