Rent is preparing to close up shop and move out of the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, its home since 1996. The cutting-edge rock adaptation of La Bohème was written by Jonathan Larson, who died at the age of 35 of an aneurysm the night of the final dress rehearsal. Larson peopled the musical with personalities he knew in the pre-gentrified East Village who were energized by youthful irreverence and exuberance, and shattered by AIDS.
The show was a surprise, sudden success. “One day you can’t afford to get Chinese-food takeout, and suddenly you’re getting free meals at Balthazar," said one of the actors. A ticket-sales dip in the fall is responsible for the end of the run, but producers aren’t disappointed. “I couldn’t have foreseen that we’d even get to 5 years," said one.