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September 7th, 2008

Sep. 7th, 2008

Tonight, Sunday September 7, 2008 the curtain fell on Broadway for the final performance of the landmark musical Rent.

Like all of you, it grieves me that Jonathan isn't here to enjoy this celebration, but I know he'd be pleased with how his legacy's been cared for. And I know he'd be thrilled to imagine the thousands of upcoming productions in high schools, colleges, regional theaters, community centers, summer camps and opera houses here and around the world for many decades to come. He would thrill to the millions who will get to glimpse his unique view of New York in the early 90's, and be moved by the struggles of the close friends that inspired him.- Michael Greif

5,124 performances and 16 previews, making it the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history

Critics and fans observed that what made the show so groundbreaking was not its use of a current pop sound (Hair, Dreamgirls and Promises, Promises had done that before), but the intricacy and depth of the marriage between music, lyric, character and message.

It was the first show to sell same-day orchestra seats for $20, in a curbside lottery system. Rent attracted a huge number of repeat visitors who came to be known as Rentheads. (That's who was screaming nightly from the first two rows, in case you ever wondered. The sold-out final performance also offered cheap tickets via lottery.)

Rent won every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Question: One final question. Why do you think Rent has been the success it's been?
Goldsberry: For so many reasons. I think, for all of the people that were involved in the very beginning, from Jonathan Larson to Michael Greif to the entire original company and cast and the original band members, I just think something kind of divine happened when this very specific particular group of people got together. . . . I don't know that they had any idea that they were trying to change the world. They were just trying to be honest about a world that they thought was important to put on the stage and a message they thought was important to put on the stage. I think when you are that honest and [have] that kind of integrity about a goal . . . .I think it's rewarded. Obviously the message, you have to say that it's the most important thing, a message that celebrates life and love the way this does.

The irony is that it's not necessarily the music of this moment, and yet it still hits young people of the same age the same way. Isn't that amazing? It's so powerful. The arrangements are amazing. It's just beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful and, I think, blessed. And, I personally think it'll be back on Broadway in five minutes. So we're doing all this huge uproar and then literally it'll be like Les Miz and, in two minutes, will be back because I think Broadway will have a hole in it without Rent.

On the night of the final dress rehearsal, Jonathan Larson, far left, the 35-year-old composer and librettist, died of an aortic aneurysm. Michael Greif, right, directed the show.

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thank you Johnathan Larson.

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