My Rent experience....


By Greg Solomon

I first heard about Rent while it was still in its off-Broadway production, and although I hate rock music (for the most part), the thought of an all-new venue of musical theater had me very excited. Unfortunately, my parents never let me go to see anything off-Broadway.

So when it moved to Broadway, I was elated...then I realized it was almost completely sold out. I saw the Tony's on TV and started to practically cry because I loved it so much. At this point I still hadn't even realized I was gay... the energy of the show blew me away and it really didn't mean anything to me yet.

In mid-July, I found out about the rush line where people camp out to get seats the day of the show....my parents were VERY apprehensive. But somehow, the day before I went, I found three friends that could go and my parents reluctantly agreed.

When Wilson Heredia walked onto the stage for Today 4 U, my mouth dropped....I had never been consciously attracted to someone before. And the good old message of the show "No Day But Today" was followed to the letter. I was totally out of the closet and with my first boyfriend by the end of the month.

Things did not go well at home for a while. My boyfriend and I had a very messy breakup and things were kind of bleak. I was talking to Gwen Stewart (the Seasons of Love soloist) about my problems with my parents and how they blamed my sexual orientation on the show at the time. She told Anthony Rapp (the actor who plays Mark) about it. And he talked to me for the first time.

Of course, it was a kind of, "I heard about your problems, good luck" kind-of thing. But considering that Mark was the role I really wanted to play in the show and he was in a way my role model, it meant a lot.

Anthony was the only openly gay member of the cast that I knew of and to see

that it was possible to be so open and still have many fans and a fairly successful career, I gained much more confidence in myself for the future. I finally signed on to AOL in January and he e-mailed me back (I still have it saved).

In late January, my ex-boyfriend died. He was into drugs and walked in front of a truck while tripping on acid. I told Anthony about it (in person) which probably freaked him out...having someone he knew of, but was a total stranger telling him his ex died....but he was extremely nice and kind of consoled me (for the 30 seconds before all of the picture takers started swarming him). I didn't really deal with my ex's death until that point.

I really don't know why, but somehow just talking to Anthony about things makes them better - I guess because he's a really good listener....I don't know.

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