THROWBACK THURSDAY: One of the most bittersweet and difficult days ever in Broadway history happened on September 7th, 2008 when one of the most groundbreaking and life changing musicals ever to run on Broadway ended it’s 12 year run of 5,123rd performances. That show was of course Jonathan Larson’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning Rock Opera Rent.
For that final performance, over thousands of emotional RENTheads gathered outside the Nederlander Theatre to show their spirit to the show as it says goodbye to the neighbor and put in their names for the final Broadway lottery.
RENT was the show that started the now popular rush policy that goes on with most of Broadway shows today. When the show first opened on Broadway in 1996, RENT became a huge word of mouth hit that everyone wanted to see and some people originally couldn’t afford to buy tickets. However, the producers came up with a deal to make sure people were able to see it for an affordable price. This is when they incorporated the rush for $20 tickets for the first 2 rows of the orchestra. Originally as a general rush, fans would camp outside the Nederlander Theatre for hours (sometimes they would sleep out there for one or two nights) just so they were able to get their shot at getting tickets. New York Broadway Tours’ creator and head tour guide Amada Anderson was one of those original RENTheads who would camp outside and ended up seeing the show numerous times. A few weeks later (due to the crowds causing a fire hazard), it was changed to a lottery drawing which fans were able to enter 2 1/2 hours before each and every performance. Hundreds of RENTheads each day entered and some were even lucky to see it over 30-40 times. For the final performance, the 32 seats in the first 2 rows of the orchestra were sold before the box office surprised RENTheads by raffling off an additional 15 seats.
In addition, for those who weren’t able to afford to see RENT or lost the lottery, the final performance itself was filmed and released in Movie Theaters a few months later and is now available on DVD entitled RENT: FILMED LIVE ON BROADWAY. That closing cast featured Adam Kantor as “Mark Cohen”, Will Chase as “Roger”, future Tony winner Ren?e Elise Goldsberry as “Mimi”, Eden Espinosa as “Maureen”, Michael McElroy as “Tom Collins”, Justin Johnston as “Angel”, Tracie Thoms reprising her performance from the 2005 film as “Joanne” and original cast members Rodney Hicks taking on the role of “Benny” and Gwen Stewart reprising her showstopping performance as the SEASONS OF LOVE soloist and others.
Fans will also get to experience RENT in a whole new way in 2019 as FOX is set to present a live televised presentation of the musical. It’s set to air on January 27th, 2019.
For all your still super RENTheads out there that want to know more about RENT and it’s GLORY to Broadway, be sure to join us NEW YORK BROADWAY TOURS for our INSPIRATION OF RENT Walking Tour in the East Village. We will visit familiar locations or what Jonathan Larson was inspired by to write this beloved rock musical.
How amazing with one show, it opens the door and becomes a Broadway tradition we still have today?!
The Final Lottery From Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway I’ve been looking for this for a long time and it’s so great so I thought I should share it with people 🙂
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