Jonathan Larson was indeed a remarkable writer and composer who had his own stories to tell. Although his death came too early, his success can still be seen in his greatest work, the musical Rent and it may be said that As an artist, Jonathan Larson’s discovered his passion for music following Elton John and Billy Joel, but it was musical theatre that caught his eye while his parents introduced him to the musical Fiddler on the Roof. As he later on said by himself, he always wanted to write music that could incorporate all of these influences.
The path lead him to a four-year drama major, but it was the composing that was his main interest and soon enough he started writing music for school productions. During his college years, Jonathan Larson got in contract with the composer Stephen Sondheim, who was also his strongest musical theater influence and later on his mentor. Sondheim told him later that Never the less he didn’t go on as an actor and took a step into the composing world, he was still a struggling artist who spend years living his life working as a waiter just to pay his bills, while writing numerous theatrical pieces with a poor success story. With the musical Tick, Tick…Boom, which was an autobiographical work of Larson’s life and was reflecting his alter ego, he finally got recognized, but still not the way he wanted to. As Siegel describes the show in New York times The songs and stories were half-funny and half-bitter tales of bad readings and waiting tables. He addressed his disappointment with putting the show off in 1994. But there was still no reason for him to give up, especially when he got into collaboration with Billy Aronson, a playwright who played around with the idea of updating Puccini’s opera La Boheme. The project didn’t get started until 1991 when Larson felt the need to tell the story about his friends who were diagnosed with AIDS.
Larson stated himself while he was still alive and that truly represent the path that Rent went since the beginning of the show until this day. Many links between the big success of the show and Larson’s death have been made during the time, but it is not said for sure that his death is the cause for such a big success of the musical Rent. The only thing that can be said for sure is, that the show is popular as the numerous amounts of awards that the show won present. , said by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, an actor of the original cast from Rent, shows that Rent really was a new era in the theater. Never before was there a musical telling a story about HIV-infected people, drugs, and homosexuals. The reviews for the show were well received, as reported in New York times. But it was the audience who gave Jonathan Larson a chance and made Rent to what it is today, an award winning musicals. A musical that is different to others, because it represents Even though Rent is parallel to Puccini’s 1896 opera La Boheme, Jonathan Larson took the idea and collaborated with Billy Aronson and transformed it into a contemporary story that was never told before. The audience can get the chance to watch two pieces back-to-back in one repertoire and see the show not only as a good composers work but as an artistic creation. Artistic creation which illuminates Jonathan Larson’s brilliance, never the less Rent owes a lot to Stephen Sondheim’s work.
Rent is classified as a rock musical, because of its rock influence. Examples of such musicals are Hair and Spring Awakening, which are both linked to Rent. It can be said that Hair was a big influence on Rent, because of the impact it made in that era when people weren’t talking about drugs and hippies. Hair made a big statement at that time as did Rent. Both musicals told a story of confusion in each generation. Both works may be seen as generational anthems. Not because of the protest, but of it’s finally, youthful enthusiasm, even when the youth in question is at risk. Hair can be seen as a milestone for Rent, which later impacted on Spring Awakening. Although Spring Awakening was already written in 1891 as a play, it’s shocking story of acknowledgment of adolescent sexuality broke ground aesthetically, going beyond naturalism to presage expressionism. Since times have changed and today society is more open minded to the ethnological, sexual, and all other controversial aspects of human life, the effects of Spring Awakening as well as Rent have changed. In Spring Awakening the characters are still experiencing their awakening spring of sexuality and a couple of scenes might still surprise the audience, but in general, today’s community is more used to that on stage now. As Rent made theatrical history with transporting Puccini’s La Boheme to New York, Spring Awakening made its own kind of history by putting a modern spin on a controversial play. It can be said that Rent had its influences and went on passing that to other musicals.
Although Jonathan Larson didn’t get the chance to witness the success of his life’s work, he left behind two remarkable musicals, which are both in subject matter unmistakable. Similarity’s in Tick, tick…Boom, especially in the characters, for which may seem they sometimes show that Jonathan Larson’s work had a deeper meaning and a thought of memories of his lost friends. As a composer, his answer to the acknowledgment that he has just lost people that he loves was to write something in response. He, later on, said, Despite the fact that he never got the chance to see how his words and music inspired people, the musical Rent still goes on filling theaters with his story and the effect that he left behind may be seen in new works appearing on the stage. Jonathan Larson wanted to give all a lesson about how to go on in the time of great loss and not anything for granted.