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Theater Review - Rent

            In 1989, Jonathan Larson and Billy Aronson collaborated together to work on a musical project which ended up becoming a well-known rock musical titled Rent. Larson later took Rent under his own hands with Aronson's permission; this musical came out on Broadway in 1996 and came out in movie theatres in 2005. Rent, based on Puccini's La Bohème, is about a group of young bohemian artists who battle to make a life and make due in New York's lower east side. It has opened Broadway up to a new social issue, confronting the AIDS crisis directly for the first time in a Broadway musical. It also deals bravely with universal issues such as drug addiction, homosexuality, homelessness, violence, and artistic freedom. Through the music in Rent, Jonathan Larson clearly illustrates the revealing issues of individual authenticity, gender, and politics.
             Through its lyrics, Rent depicts the characters in their struggle with society while trying to stay true to who they are as a person; this includes their loves, hopes, and dreams. With that being said, the characters in this musical are expressing individual authenticity, which involves being true to oneself. For example, in the song "One Song Glory", Roger expresses his passion on how he still wishes to live a meaningful life despite his fear of death. This is an emotional song that starts off slow with the tempo gradually picking up along with more instruments coming in. In operas during earlier times, it was usually the women who would sing emotional love songs with a high range. However, in "One Song Glory", Roger does not conform to these specific gender expectations; his range gets higher as the tempo picks up. In parallel, the song, "Another Day" portrays Mimi's need to be loved and cared for while she is still alive. In this song, Mimi also does not conform to the typical gender expectations on stage.

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