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Seasons of Love: Why Rent Matters (Susan Elkin reviews)

SEASONS OF LOVE: WHY RENT MATTERS – Emily Garside (Applause Books).

Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩

When Jonathan Larson’s Rent arrived at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway in 1996, directed by Michael Greif, after an Off-Broadway stint at New York Theatre Workshop, it broke new ground.

Garside argues that it changed the course of musical theatre, and more widely, theatre history as one of the first musicals to depict AIDS truthfully and to show gay love as an ordinary, celebratory part of life.

Of course, Larson’s untimely sudden death (from an undiagnosed heart condition) at the age of 35 the day before the first Off-Broadway preview also had an impact. Tragic as it was, it provided an element of unanticipated “romance”.

Rent is inspired by Puccini’s La bohème which had premiered almost exactly a century before it. Tuberculosis becomes AIDS in this Upper East Side flat share …

Read the rest of this book reviews at Musical Theatre Reviews:

Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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