The off-Broadway production of Rent will close after the performance today, September 9, at New World Stages. The production will have played 32 previews and 450 performances. Rent, which is written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, opened at the theater on August 11, 2011. Below, BroadwayWorld takes you on a multimedia flashback through the show's return to New York!
The original production of Rent opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996 following a history-making, sold out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Additionally, Rent is one of only eight musicals to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In all, Rent won four Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, two Theatre World Awards, and Obie Awards for its creator, director, and entire cast.
The original production closed on September 7, 2008, after playing 5,124 performances and 16 previews. Rent is the ninth longest running show in Broadway history. Tours of Rent have crisscrossed the country almost continuously since late 1996, including a successful tour starring original cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp in 2009.
Open casting began for Rent's return to New York in March and was announced in June 2011. The original cast of New World Stages' Rent featured Annaleigh Ashford (Maureen Johnson), Margot Bingham (Alexi Darling, Roger's Mom, and others), Adam Chanler-Berat (Mark Cohen), Nicholas Christopher (Tom Collins), Arianda Fernandez (Mimi Marquez), Marcus Paul James (Mr. Jefferson, Paul, and others), Tamika Sonja Lawrence (Mrs. Jefferson, woman with bags), Corbin Reid (Joanne Jefferson), Michael Rodriguez (Angel Schunard), Matt Shingledecker (Roger Davis), Ephraim Sykes (Benjamin Coffin III), Ben Thompson (Christmas caroler, Mr. Grey, The Man, and others), Michael Wartella (Steve, Gordon, Waiter, and others), and Morgan Weed (Mark's Mom and others). Also in the company were Sean Michael Murray, Xavier Cano, and Genny Padilla.
BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge met the new cast of Rent on August 1, 2011, and spoke with The Players filling the musical's iconic roles in the video below.
The show released some sneak peek videos before beginning previews at New World Stages, including a first glimpse of "Season of Love."
Rent opened Off-Broadway on Thursday, August 11, 2011, at New World Stages. BroadwayWorld was, of course, on hand to capture the show's first curtain call and stuck around to interview the cast about bringing the new production to the stage. Check out production photos and images of Rent's first bows, plus a video from the opening night party, below!
Beginning in December 2011, the show saw some cast changes. Brandon Victor Dixon joined the production in the role of Tom Collins, taking over from Nicholas Christopher, who was on medical leave but returned to the show in February 2012. Josh Grisetti, Justin Johnston, and Rashad Naylor began performances on January 20, 2012, in the roles of Mark, Roger, and Benny, respectively. Emma Hunton joined the cast in the role of Maureen earlier that month, along with Aaron Lavigne. This June, Shaleah Adkisson took over the role of Joanne, and in July 2012, Anthony Fedorov and Natalie Wachen joined the cast of Rent in the roles of Roger and Mimi (pictured below).
Rent, with its long-running success, has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents, including in the following countries Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Even after its closing at New World Stages today, the musical will continue to be produced by theaters throughout the U.S. and around the world.