"Rent" 20th Anniversary tour comes to OKC

The 20th anniversary tour cast of “Rent”. Photo provided.

OKC Broadway and the producers of the Rent 20th Anniversary Tour are thrilled to announce that Rent will play the Civic Center Music Hall for one week in November.

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. It tells a powerful, moving, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story of young, impoverished New York artists who were seeking to make their way in the world, longing to connect and trying to survive the looming specter of AIDS.

 The actors were black, white and brown; the characters were straight, gay, bisexual and transgender. The show, of course, was Rent and it became a phenomenon.

Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s Rent continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world.

Now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème, 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.

“The show’s greatest legacy is its boundless humanity. How do you measure a life?” says Kevin McCollum, alluding to the show’s most famous song, Seasons of Love. “Attention must be paid to how you treat people and how you build family. Touch people, change people by loving each other against all odds.

“This is a musical about living with, not dying from disease, introduced at a time when people thought AIDS was a death sentence,” adds McCollum, who was one of the original producers of Rent.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews. It transferred to Broadway April 29 that year. Rent is winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of only five musicals to win both awards.

Sadly, Larson died of an aortic aneurysm a few weeks before the musical was scheduled to open Off-Broadway. He did not get to see the rave reviews and never saw the show on Broadway. Larson was posthumously awarded the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, Rent), Evan Ensign has restaged this national tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, Rent) serves as choreographer.

Rent will be performed November 7 through 12 at Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall. Tickets are available by visiting OKCBroadway.com, by calling (405) 297-2264 Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or visiting the Civic Center Box Office. Groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by calling (405) 297-1586 or by visiting www.OKCBroadway.com.

Copyright The Gayly – November 3, 2017 @ 7:05 a.m. CDT.