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Original Concept and Additional Lyrics of the Broadway musical.
In 1988 I had an idea for a musical based on Puccini’s La Boheme, in which the luscious splendor of Puccini’s world would be replaced with the coarseness and noise of modern New York.
In search of a composer who could provide the noise I went to Ira Weitzman, director of musical theater at Playwrights Horizons. Ira recommended two composers, one of whom was Jonathan Larson.
Jonathan and I met, exchanged materials, talked about my idea, and decided to work together on it. Neither of us had collaborated before, and the process was bumpy. At one point I wrote a script that included lyrics for Rent, Santa Fe, and I Should Tell You.
After Jonathan wrote music for those three songs we passed around a tape and script and tried to get theaters to bite. They didn’t. So we each got busy with other projects.
In 1991 Jonathan asked me if he could go ahead with the show on his own. I had no problem with that, so we agreed that he could do what he wanted with the show, as long as I’d be given credit—for original concept & additional lyrics—and compensation if the show should ever be produced.
Over the next few years Jonathan passed me scripts and tapes of the work as it evolved. Shortly before the off Broadway opening I asked Jonathan what was left of my lyrics. He said the lyrics for Rent were basically his, the lyrics for Santa Fe were basically mine, and the lyrics for I Should Tell You were half and half.
For the record, although I was ambivalent about Jonathan’s ideas for Rent when we were working together on it, I have come to love the show. And as tragic as it is that he didn’t live to see his work become a huge success, I believe he knew it would be. In our last conversation I asked how the show was going and he said, with complete assurance, that it was incredible.
Interviewed for NY Magazine/Vulture oral history.
Interviewed for RENT FAQ.
Interview about show’s creation featured in Rent book.
Featured on New Now Next.
NPR report about completion of Broadway run.
Interview featured in No Day But Today: the Story of RENT, documentary which accompanies the DVD of the Rent movie.
Interviewed for Mediander Blog.
Performed “Seasons of Love” with cast members at Broadway Sings for Pride event.
Wrote book for Theatreworks USA musical with lyricist Kevin Del Aguila and composer Brad Alexander, directed by John Rando, choreographed by Wendy Seyb, based on picture book by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin.
Premiered at the Lucille Lortel in summer ’09.
Cited by Blogspot as best reviewed show of 2009.
Produced at the Atlantic Theater in October, 2009.
Holiday opera for all ages (3M/3W) composed by Rusty Magee.
A Christmas fairy tale in which a snow man, a reindeer, Santa Claus, and the Sugar Plum Fairy get entangled in a web of misunderstanding that can only be unraveled by a child.
Performed at several New York venues, given concert premiere at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater in December of 1999.
Jazz/rock/salsa/etc. opera with a twisted take on patriotic themes (3M/3W) composed by Kitty Brazelton.
An intergalactic de Tocqueville comes to earth to figure out why we shoot fireworks into the sky, and figures out something else.
Premiered at Fort Greene Park, in the summer of 2002.
Interviewed by John Schaefer on NPR’s Soundcheck.
Hear excerpts of the opera.