Rent opened on Broadway in 1996, the day after the tragic death of its writer Jonathon Larson. Based loosely around Pucciniís opera La Boheme, it focuses on a group of struggling artists living in the Bohemian Lower East Side of New York.
The show follows eight characters over the course of a year. Mark is a film maker living in New York. His performance artist girlfriend Maureen has left him for another woman - lawyer and part time stage manager Joanne - with whom she has a tempestuous relationship. Markís guitar playing housemate Roger has become a virtual recluse since discovering that he has AIDS, but when he meets the similarly afflicted Mimi and begins to fall in love, everything could be starting to look up again. However, Mimiís drug addiction, and dalliances with Rogerís old friend turned yuppie businessman Benny mean that things do not run smoothly. Mark and RogerĎs former housemate, political philosopher Collins, also returns to town where he meets drummer and drag artist Angel. The two fall deeply in love, but with both suffering from AIDS, and Angelís medication failing, their happiness looks to be short lived.