15 years ago today most of Broadway’s hot new stars were still living in the suburbs, or the country, or a city far away from New York. Spring Awakening wasn’t even a glimmer in Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s eyes. And I was still three full years away from first falling in love with RENT. 15 years ago today Broadway lost one of its brightest young minds when Jonathan Larson suddenly passed away.
RENT was huge, and not just at the box office. It changed the tenor of Broadway shows, started to bridge the gap between rock concerts and theater, and helped theater appeal to a much younger audience. Also worth noting: Stephen Sondheim liked both RENT and Larson, which is saying something
The sadness and beauty of Larson’s legacy go hand in hand. Sadness because he was lost just as he was taking off, and we never got a chance to hear what he might say next. Beauty because he will always, always live on in the musicals that survived him, that reach us all to this day. Just as he will live on in every life that is touched by his work, inspired to do something, move somewhere, live their life like there is no day but today.