What is a Legacy?
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What is a Legacy?

Jonathan Larson & the Impact that his Musical Giant, Rent, has had

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What is a Legacy?
Wikia

I don't go a day without listening to Rent.

Hearing the first few notes of the show fills my chest up with excitement. I know the words to almost every song. I understand that it sounds a little obsessive, especially to those who haven't decided to dedicate their lives to theater like me and a lot of my friends.

Jonathan Larson was a composer and a playwright who poured his life into his work. There're autobiographical allusions throughout Rent, creating a dramatized version of Larson's life. For all of those who don't know, Rent is a rock musical that explores the lives of starving artists in 90s Manhattan, based on Puccini's La Boheme. It explores what art means in our society, explores the definition of success, explores how human connect with each other and even the meaning of death. It revolutionized musical theater and what was expected from Broadway – winning in 1996 the Pulitzer for Drama, three Tony Awards, and four Drama Desks. It's the 11th longest running musical in Broadway history having lasted for 12 years. I can't go a day without listening to Rent.

He died before Rent was opened for an audience. He died not knowing what was going to become of his masterpiece. Tick, Tick...Boom! was Larson's autobiographical marathon. Originally written for one actor, it explores what his life was like and the uncertainty that he suffered from every day. It reveals the rejection and the heartbreak that an artist has to deal with.

I was given the privilege to Assistant Direct a student-run production of Tick, Tick this semester. In one of the monologues in the show, Jon (based directly on Jonathan Larson) questions that this show he had written maybe would "reinvent musicals for [the next] generation ... the cultural lightning rod that will energize the 20-something generation." Every night, hearing that line...Larson wasn't alive to see the impact that his creation had on theater.

Hamilton , the musical that has taken the nation by storm, is obsessed with what a legacy is and being sure that your legacy is secured. Larson died without a wife or children. Most of his friends were sick. He lived in a rundown apartment in Soho. The only thing he left behind was his music and he didn't know Rent were blossom into. He probably couldn't even imagine that he would win a Pulitzer and probably couldn't have imagined that his work would be celebrated for so long after he died.

I don't go a day without listening to Rent because it is the most beautiful piece of art I've ever heard, and it breaks my heart that I can't tell Jonathan Larson that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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