Meet the Artists Keeping 'Rent' Writer Jonathan Larson's Legacy Alive


It's unimaginable to speak about fashionable musical theater right now with out mentioning Jonathan Larson — the good composer who wrote Rent and, tragically and out of the blue, died the night time earlier than its first off-Broadway preview, at age 35. But although Larson's title is synonymous with the groundbreaking musical he wrote (considered one of Broadway's longest-running ever, and for which he posthumously gained a Pulitzer Prize), he was a vibrant and prolific author throughout his quick time right here, writing one different produced present, Tick, Tick… Boom!, together with others that stay within the Larson archives. 

Now, a gaggle of Broadway's brightest younger stars are bringing a lot of that largely-unheard music to the stage in The Jonathan Larson Project (at Broadway cabaret venue 54Below Oct. 9-14). Five solid members, together with totally different visitors artists at every efficiency (together with some authentic Rent solid members) will sing songs from Larson's unproduced musicals 1984 and Superbia, reduce songs from Rent and Tick, Tick… Boom!, and miscellaneous Larson cuts written for all the things from musical revues to radio.  Three of these solid members — George Salazar (Be More Chill), Andy Mientus (NBC's Smash, Spring Awakening) and Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening, First Date) — together with particular visitor Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent's authentic Mimi), stopped by the Billboard on Broadway podcast to speak with host Rebecca Milzoff about bringing extra of Larson's music to a brand new viewers.

"He's like all of us," says Salazar of why Larson's music continues to resonate greater than 20 years after Rent's premiere (Salazar starred in an off-Broadway manufacturing of Tick, Tick… Boom!). "There was this drive and fervour and loyalty to his family and friends factor that all of us have." Before Rent, Rubin-Vega says, "I didn't actually love musical theater, however I liked what [Rent] was.  It spoke to me and my tribe. It actually outlined what a tribe was for me — that it didn't must do with what you appeared like, that it was about who you’re in your soul."

The Jonathan Larson Project, directed and conceived by Jennifer Ashley Tepper, feels particularly well timed now, the group agrees. "It does really feel like a time to have a social rebellion within the arts group, and I feel that's what Rent did for its technology when it got here out. We haven't actually had our second with artwork in that method — one thing that rallies up a youthful group to concentrate," says Rodriguez. "Jonathan's music is so related right now; particular issues he was writing about are nonetheless particularly an issue now, issues we’re marching about now. I'm excited to share this music with a technology that may perhaps use it in the appropriate method." 

In this episode, the group recall how they have been first launched to the facility of Larson's music, why Rent continues to be such a touchstone for younger musical theater followers, and what audiences can count on to listen to at The Jonathan Larson Project's exhibits. 

#BillboardonBroadway is a weekly podcast dedicated to all issues musical theater and their overlap with pop music. Click right here to subscribe to the #BillboardonBroadway podcast on iTunes, and tell us what you assume on Twitter (@rebeccamilzoff) or by ranking the podcast on iTunes.