Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Classic musical ‘Rent,’ co-starring Penn State alumnus, to bring 20th anniversary tour to Penn State April 6

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway and forever changed the landscape of American theater. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and across the world. The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Purchase tickets, which are $65 and $56 for an adult, $47 and $38 for a University Park student, and $48 and $39 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

A re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” “Rent” follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

Read a Center for the Performing Arts interview with Penn State graduate Christian Thompson, who co-stars as Benny in the touring production.

The show premiered off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop Feb. 13, 1996, to ecstatic reviews and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996. “Rent” won the 1996 Tony for Best Musical, as well as the Pulitzer for Drama. It’s one of only five musicals to win both awards.

Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk nominations for “Rent”), Evan Ensign restages this 20th anniversary tour. Marlies Yearby (Tony nomination for “Rent”) is the choreographer.

Find more information about the show, which includes adult language and situations.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders. Reservations for audio description are required by Thursday, March 23. Phone 814-863-0255 to reserve the service.

Mimi Barash Coppersmith, Steven L. Herb and Sara Willoughby-Herb, Richard and Sally Kalin, and Jeane and Richard Singer sponsor the presentation. WTAJ-TV and 93.7 THE BUS are the media sponsors.