Bittersweet musical in its 20th year

Rent at the Devonshire Park Theatre
Rent at the Devonshire Park Theatre

The new 20th anniversary production of Jonathan Larson’s ground-breaking Pulitzer Prize and multi Tony Award-winning musical Rent comes to the Devonshire Park Theatre this spring from January 31 until February 4.

Larson’s musical, inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème, won four Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1996. The show ran on Broadway for 12 years, from 1996 and premiered in London’s West End in 1998 at the Shaftesbury Theatre and then was adapted into a film in 2005.

Larson’s world is inhabited by a group of bohemian artists who struggle to maintain their friendships and their non-conformist ideals in New York’s East Village.

Set at the dawn of the 1990s, this group struggles with their careers, love lives and the effects of the AIDS epidemic on their community.

Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, and Roger, an HIV-positive musician, scramble for money to pay rent to their landlord and former roommate, Benny. Meanwhile, their friend Tom, a professor, has fallen for Angel, who is slowly dying of AIDS.

Facing problems head on, they make personal self-discoveries and find what matters most. The musical explores dark and serious subjects, but celebrates the resilience of the human spirit while reminding audiences to live for the moment.

The poignancy of the story was heightened when Jonathan Larson died on January 25 1996, the night before the show’s first off-Broadway performance at New York Theatre Workshop.

He never had the chance to see how his opus would become one of the all-time great musicals, loved by millions all over the world.

The much-loved score features songs such as Seasons of Love, Take Me or Leave Me, What You Own, One Song Glory, La Vie Bohème, Without You, I’ll Cover You, Out Tonight and I Should Tell You.

This cast includes Layton Williams (Bad Education, Billy Eilliot the Musical, Hairspray) and Lucie Jones (XFactor, Legally Blonde the Musical, Les Miserable) and Javar La’trial Parker (Showboat).

Rent premiered exactly 100 years after La Bohème was first staged to the world, the parallels between the two are strong but RENT stands alone as a stunning Rock Opera.

Tickets are priced from £26, with nightly performances at 7.45pm and Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm (with discounted tickets available for matinee shows). To book or for more information call 01323 412000 or go online at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

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