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NEWS
April 17, 2006 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Who could resist the charm of a shoestring production in a tiny theater, with talented performers in a show about the struggles of being in show business? The new, young, professional 11th Hour Theatre Company, committed to contemporary musical theater, presents tick, tick . . . BOOM!, the rarely seen autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent. The show is about a composer named Jonathan trying to create a rock musical. He almost chucks it all - so much effort, so little reward - but he can't and won't abandon his work, despite his "raging mix of envy and contempt" for Broadway.
NEWS
March 27, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
HAMMONTON, N.J. - The question facing the Jonathan Larson musical tick, tick . . . BOOM! is how much it needs to ride the coattails of the same author's more-evolved Rent . The engaging, accomplished production at the Eagle Theatre makes a good case for the show, which is relatively slight and light, but our appreciation is certainly enhanced by knowing Larson was mastering the pop-music styles in this show before transforming them brilliantly...
ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2000 | By Douglas J. Keating, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
Broadway shows are not the usual fare at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, but the music-shed setting is a good match for the pop-rock musical Rent, which plays there through Sunday. With a high-volume, driving musical score its most attractive attribute, and large colorful ensemble numbers among its best songs, this Rent fills the Mann's spacious seating area with sound and its stage with colorful activity. The musical-venue setting, onstage electrified band, visibly miked performers, dramatic lighting design, and high amplification give this production the sound and feel of a rock concert, making it even more alluring to the largely youthful audience Rent attracts.
NEWS
November 23, 2005 | By Carrie Rickey INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Rent, Jonathan Larson's 1996 rock-salsa-gospel opera, arrives on the big screen (almost) intact, carried triumphantly by six of eight original Broadway cast members. Let the Rentheads, as the hard-core fans style themselves, kvetch that some numbers have been trimmed and tweaked. Chris Columbus' relatively faithful and intermittently affecting adaptation boasts the boisterous vitality of its performers, particularly Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as lovers Tom and Angel.
NEWS
May 18, 2006 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Rent is a huge show - the cast, the songs, the passions - and the huge audience was hugely pleased on the opening night of the national touring company's production. There were "Rentheads" (people who have seen the show many times) and first-timers, teenagers and their parents at the Merriam. This is one of those musicals that is an Event. Jonathan Larson's 1996 breakout rock musical, based on Puccini's opera La Boh?me, is about a year in the life of a group of young people living the bohemian life in the squalor of New York's East Village.
NEWS
February 27, 2003 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The tragic story of Jonathan Larson has become show-business legend. In 1996, after years of struggle as an aspiring Broadway composer and lyricist, Larson had come up with Rent, a rock-music treatment of La Boheme that finally was attracting the notice he had so long sought. On the night before the musical was to preview at an Off-Broadway theater, Larson, 35, died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm. Rent went on to become a Broadway sensation, winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama and four Tony Awards, while the theater world mourned the death of the promising young talent who created it. Larson and his music became so well-known and admired that it was not surprising that his previous work was trolled for possibilities.
NEWS
May 10, 2010 | By Wendy Rosenfield FOR THE INQUIRER
Jonathan Larson's musical Rent (a contemporary update of Puccini's opera La Boheme), it seems, stands the test of time. In the years between its 1994 debut and its current appearance at Media Theatre, it has settled comfortably into the quirky, nostalgic, musical-of-a-generation spot also occupied by West Side Story and Hair. Each signifies its own kind of cultural shorthand and serves as ready fodder for academics and parodists. Filmmaker Mark's glasses, striped scarf, and constant shot-framing, for instance, are as recognizable as Mimi's wild hair.
NEWS
May 12, 2012 | By Wendy Rosenfield, FOR THE INQUIRER
Bristol Riverside Theatre's current production of Rent marks the fifth I've reviewed, more than any other show, including Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Since the second Clinton presidency, Philly has hosted the original national tour, many local productions, and a 2009 reboot featuring its original Broadway leading men, Adam Rapp and Anthony Pascal, and "Seasons of Love" soloist Gwen Stewart. Bristol's entry isn't the best Rent I've seen, but it might be the best production I've seen there, and that's not meant as a backhanded compliment.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 30, 1996 | By Clifford A. Ridley, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
In a visual sense, it's a bit hard to tell where the play leaves off and the life of the East Village begins at the Nederlander Theatre, where the propulsive rock musical called Rent opened last night. The rather seedy, seldom-used theater has been done up inside and out in fluorescent green paint, tilework, murals, paper sconces, Japanese-influenced scaffolding and the creations of Village painters, all designed to blur the distinction between imagination and reality. Contemporary reality pervades the play, too, to a degree unseen in a Broadway musical since Hair transferred from Off-Broadway in 1968.
LIVING
April 10, 1996 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC The Associated Press contributed to this report
An African American composer who studied at the Curtis Institute and taught at Rutgers and the University of Delaware, and a playwright whose musical celebrates modern-day bohemians in Manhattan, were among yesterday's 1996 Pulitzer Prize winners in the arts. George Walker, 73, whose career became an emblem for America's black composers, won for his work Lilacs. Jonathan Larson, who died in January at age 35, won for Rent, a play he struggled for 10 years to bring to the stage.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
March 27, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
HAMMONTON, N.J. - The question facing the Jonathan Larson musical tick, tick . . . BOOM! is how much it needs to ride the coattails of the same author's more-evolved Rent . The engaging, accomplished production at the Eagle Theatre makes a good case for the show, which is relatively slight and light, but our appreciation is certainly enhanced by knowing Larson was mastering the pop-music styles in this show before transforming them brilliantly...
NEWS
May 12, 2012 | By Wendy Rosenfield, FOR THE INQUIRER
Bristol Riverside Theatre's current production of Rent marks the fifth I've reviewed, more than any other show, including Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Since the second Clinton presidency, Philly has hosted the original national tour, many local productions, and a 2009 reboot featuring its original Broadway leading men, Adam Rapp and Anthony Pascal, and "Seasons of Love" soloist Gwen Stewart. Bristol's entry isn't the best Rent I've seen, but it might be the best production I've seen there, and that's not meant as a backhanded compliment.
NEWS
May 10, 2010 | By Wendy Rosenfield FOR THE INQUIRER
Jonathan Larson's musical Rent (a contemporary update of Puccini's opera La Boheme), it seems, stands the test of time. In the years between its 1994 debut and its current appearance at Media Theatre, it has settled comfortably into the quirky, nostalgic, musical-of-a-generation spot also occupied by West Side Story and Hair. Each signifies its own kind of cultural shorthand and serves as ready fodder for academics and parodists. Filmmaker Mark's glasses, striped scarf, and constant shot-framing, for instance, are as recognizable as Mimi's wild hair.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 4, 2008 | By Robert Strauss FOR THE INQUIRER
It seems there is little that can keep the teacher out of Anwar Robinson, even touring in one of modern Broadway's signature musicals. Robinson, the New Jersey middle-school teacher and the dreadlocked heartthrob from the fourth season of American Idol, comes to the Academy of Music this weekend as Tom Collins, the HIV-positive MIT professor, in the national touring company of Rent. "I like that he is intelligent and maybe a little bit older and wiser than the other characters," said Robinson last week from Kyoto.
NEWS
May 18, 2006 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Rent is a huge show - the cast, the songs, the passions - and the huge audience was hugely pleased on the opening night of the national touring company's production. There were "Rentheads" (people who have seen the show many times) and first-timers, teenagers and their parents at the Merriam. This is one of those musicals that is an Event. Jonathan Larson's 1996 breakout rock musical, based on Puccini's opera La Boh?me, is about a year in the life of a group of young people living the bohemian life in the squalor of New York's East Village.
NEWS
April 17, 2006 | By Toby Zinman FOR THE INQUIRER
Who could resist the charm of a shoestring production in a tiny theater, with talented performers in a show about the struggles of being in show business? The new, young, professional 11th Hour Theatre Company, committed to contemporary musical theater, presents tick, tick . . . BOOM!, the rarely seen autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent. The show is about a composer named Jonathan trying to create a rock musical. He almost chucks it all - so much effort, so little reward - but he can't and won't abandon his work, despite his "raging mix of envy and contempt" for Broadway.
NEWS
November 23, 2005 | By Carrie Rickey INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Rent, Jonathan Larson's 1996 rock-salsa-gospel opera, arrives on the big screen (almost) intact, carried triumphantly by six of eight original Broadway cast members. Let the Rentheads, as the hard-core fans style themselves, kvetch that some numbers have been trimmed and tweaked. Chris Columbus' relatively faithful and intermittently affecting adaptation boasts the boisterous vitality of its performers, particularly Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as lovers Tom and Angel.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 20, 2005 | By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When it opened in 1996, Rent, Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer-winning rock opera, transformed the lives of its stars. The bohemian musical, about a group of struggling young artists squatting in New York's East Village during the '80s, launched the careers of Taye Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back); Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order); Idina Menzel (2004 Tony Award winner for Wicked); and Wilson Jermaine Heredia (1996 Tony for Rent). Rent, the eighth-longest-running show in Broadway history and one of the first musicals to have lead characters with AIDS, has been performed all over the world, and created a cult of repeat theatergoers known as "Rentheads.
NEWS
February 27, 2003 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The tragic story of Jonathan Larson has become show-business legend. In 1996, after years of struggle as an aspiring Broadway composer and lyricist, Larson had come up with Rent, a rock-music treatment of La Boheme that finally was attracting the notice he had so long sought. On the night before the musical was to preview at an Off-Broadway theater, Larson, 35, died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm. Rent went on to become a Broadway sensation, winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama and four Tony Awards, while the theater world mourned the death of the promising young talent who created it. Larson and his music became so well-known and admired that it was not surprising that his previous work was trolled for possibilities.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2000 | By Douglas J. Keating, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
Broadway shows are not the usual fare at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, but the music-shed setting is a good match for the pop-rock musical Rent, which plays there through Sunday. With a high-volume, driving musical score its most attractive attribute, and large colorful ensemble numbers among its best songs, this Rent fills the Mann's spacious seating area with sound and its stage with colorful activity. The musical-venue setting, onstage electrified band, visibly miked performers, dramatic lighting design, and high amplification give this production the sound and feel of a rock concert, making it even more alluring to the largely youthful audience Rent attracts.
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