“RENT” returns to the Lied Center for Performing Arts for a three-day, four-show run.

The popular musical’s national touring company, which is on its 20th Anniversary Tour, will be back at the Lied for the first time since 2006.

A reimagining of Puccini’s opera, “La Boheme,” the musical that follows a year in the lives of seven young artists living in New York’s East Village in the early 1990s, had its off-Broadway debut at the New York Theatre Workshop in February, 1996, and moved to Broadway in April of that year.

An instant hit, it won the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “RENT” ran on Broadway for 12 years and more than 5,000 performances.

The national tour, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, began in 1999 with a pair of the Broadway stars reprising their roles in the road company.

A semi-autobiographical creation by Jonathan Larson, “RENT” is filled with characters based on real people he knew -- filmmakers, musicians, dancers and performance artists struggling to survive and realize their dreams under the looming specter of HIV/AIDS.

At the time of its debut, it was a ground breaker that looked and sounded like nothing that had come before and featured a multi-racial cast with characters who are straight, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Now seen as a production that captures a specific time, place and culture, “RENT” remains popular, having generated a 2006 film, a 2017 live Fox television production and the ongoing national tour.

It is also one of the most influential musicals of the last 25 years, inspiring, among others Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creation of “Hamilton.”

Tickets for “RENT” are $14.50 to $79;. Tickets are available at the Lied box office, liedcenter.org and by phone at 402-472-4747.

- L. Kent Wolgamott

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.


Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment reporter and columnist.

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