Rent vignettes

I saw the preview production of RENT at the Nederlander before it actually debuted on Broadway. Since then I have TOTALLY fallen in love with the characters, music, and storyline of this original and amazing rock-opera. During the first act I wasn't too impressed until Mimi's entrance.. With help from the music and cool dialogue I was able to totally get into it.. The reason why I feel you're able to relate to it is because I feel the show has nothing much to do with just AIDS victims, poverty, and homosexuality. The show touches on human problems such as fear of death and fear of life.. That if you stop acting on your dreams or even give up hope you lose your basic will to live and that's a common epidemic among teens especially in today's society. The song 'Will I lose?' struck me because I was able to fully relate to it.. My mother is Manic depressive and I've had to deal with questioning my own personality such as will this disease consume me one day like it did her.. Daily life's uncertainty, misunderstandings, and lack of being able to cope with it is what RENT brings to the table in a pop-brash setting.. This is the general way people think and act and not just people in the 'Village' but everywhere only in different circumstances and problems, (AIDS being a popular problem as well as the misunderstandings of homosexuality). RENT CELEBRATES life and in the long run, no matter how bad you feel your situation maybe, you have to get out of your rut, live day by day and ENJOY LIFE, point blank! 'No day but today', truly honest words engraved into people's minds by Jonathan Larson, R.I.P.

-- Alicia L. Brown, 18, of Albany, NY


My name is Brittany, and I'm from Ohio. NYC is my favorite place to go, and someday I hope to live there. I am not out to my family (for reasons related to God) but my mother took me to NY for my fourth time earlier this year. I wanted to see a few musicals (as usual) and so, we went and we were going to see some retarded play. I wanted to see Rent, but my dad said "I can't handle AIDS and death." We had just had a very, very close gay friend die of AIDS. So, my dad had to leave for some unknown reason, so I conned my mother into taking me to RENT and bring in da noise bring in da funk (which I also love). We went to RENT and I realized, I'm interested sexually and emotionally in women as well as guys. I don't label my sexuality, because I don't want to limit myself. I am always changing and so if I labeled myself and then I changed, I would look like a fool. So I'm gender-unoriented. But I cried and cried after seeing RENT. I am a great fan of Ani Difranco and I constantly think of her when I go to NYC (hope you know who she is) but I love her, too. I just wanted to tell you about Rent and me. I see myself in each

character (I know the WHOLE script by heart). We spent $200 a head for tickets to RENT and we got them the day of the play. We had third row seats and I loved every moment. I am going again to see it in NY and then they are coming here (in cincinnati) for four nights, and I'm going every night. I'm a Rent head.

-- Brittany


Rent affected me most profoundly during the second half of the song "Goodbye Love," when documentary filmmaker Mark attempts to dissuade his friend and roommate Roger from moving to Santa Fe and running away from his difficult-but-loving relationship with the AIDS-infected Mimi. Mark and Roger each has been wounded by love: Mark has sought refuge behind his camera since his girlfriend dumped him for a woman, and Roger is frustrated by Mimi's drug addiction. Roger retaliates to Mark's suggestion that he is really leaving town because he is afraid of watching Mimi die, and accuses Mark of hiding behind his job instead of becoming involved with life and dealing with the issues which trouble him.

This statement struck home for me. As a psychology student, I'm accustomed to sitting back and just observing the people around me. I'm content to assist friends when they come to me with their problems, but this song suddenly made me wonder if I am like Mark. Do I use my role as a psychology student as an excuse for not confronting my own problems? Yes, I think I do. I analyze and think about everything, but rarely do I act until my chance at getting something I really want has long run out.

Never would I have thought a Broadway musical would give me so much insight into my own behavior. RENT certainly captures the reality of the human spirit with all its fears and failures, yet never for a moment are hope, love, and dreams forgotten. It is a musical which will affect some facet in everyone's life.

-- Dal Long


As the mother of a gay son, I loved "RENT", saw it twice in NY and listen to the CD in my car constantly. I guess you can call me a "Renthead."

Not only has Rent had an amazing impact on queer youth, but others as well. Although I cannot relate personally to a specific character, except of course the parents, the songs affected me in many ways. The songs between Tom and Angel helped me to understand and wish for a loving relationship for my son.

-- Eleanor M. Binder, PFLAG-Regional Director, Mid-Atlantic States


Okay, I admit it... I'm obsessed. But from the moment I listened to RENT the first time, I knew there was something there. I wasn't sure what, but it was something special. RENT has given me an escape, an inspiration in my often depressing days. There are often many down times in my life that RENT seems to be able to cure. Whether it is the great rhythmic beat to the songs; the characters that I can relate to so much, it's almost spooky; or the messages of "No Day But Today," "Forget, regret, or life is yours to miss," or the countless others behind the whole show, RENT provides me with something I can turn to. I have not yet seen the musical, but I pray every night that I will be able to go see it. But regardless whether I have seen it visually or not, the concept of the show is what is important to me. In one sentence, the show is about people coping with life. That's what me and my peers try to do everyday. The idea of trying to get through life, making the best that you can out of it, is what keeps me holding on. RENT expresses that, and that is what keeps me holding onto it.

-- Kelly, http://lifesupport.your-site.com


"I'll cover you..." Never had I heard two men so passionately declaring their love for each other. Rent, as a musical, and as a social statement, carries more of a message for America's youth than most people could begin to imagine. It's struck a chord in our generation, Generation X. Look at it -- it's a slice of life that accurately represents the melting pot : African-American lesbian, AIDS-stricken young male. The characters are so richly portrayed that they only reinforce the idea we have as a generation that we are survivors, that we really do care. From the passionate pleas for inspiration from Roger, from the passionate declarations of love from Angel and Tom, from the passionate declarations of activism from Maureen, we see ourselves. Quite simply, Rent is what we are, what we want to be, and everyone we know. All of us know a Mimi, a Benny, an Angel. We may be them ourselves. And in Rent, we are able to live vicariously, and express ourselves. Thank you, Jonathan Larson.



I knew love could exist between two men, but from my past experiences I believed it was something rare. Watching Angel and Collins on stage made me feel that love can exist between two men and that it is not rare. It is comforting to watch Rent and see the love between Angel and Collins, and the love between Joanne and Maureen. After seeing musical after musical, TV show after TV show, it's a great feeling seeing a gay couple. It's also a great feeling seeing a gay couple portrayed in a healthy, non-stereotypical manner. Rent is amazing and awesome for a lot of reasons, the music, the acting, the lyrics, the words, the feelings it evokes. Along with those factors, as well as the relationships, Rent is an incredible inspiration to me and I am sure to others.

-- David J, DaveXX@aol.com

Oasis editor Jeff Walsh would love to hear your feedback at jeff@oasismag.com