Jonathan Larson was a great man and loved by all who knew him. He was the creator of, dare I say, the greatest musical Broadway and the world has ever seen. he brought life to the stage that I have never seen in any other show. Jonathan is a hero of mine and an excellent model of strength, courage, and initiative. I am terribly upset at the fact that one of the greatest playwrights of all time was stricken dead at such a young age. The story below tells about Jonathan from birth to death:
Jonathan Larson was born on February 4, 1960. He grew up in White Plains, New York (a subrub in NY) with his parents (Al and Nan) and older sister (Julie, she is five years older than him).
One of his best childhood friends was Matt O'Grady, a friend who is often wrote about his in his work and who often inspired him to write (Matt inspired Jonathan to write "Rent" and the character Angel is based on Matt, also Matt is "Michael" in jonathan's rock monologue "tick...tick...BOOM!"). Matt and Jonathan both went to white plains high school. Jonathan was active in the music and drama department.
Jonathan went on to go to college at Aldelphi University in Long Island, NY. He also wrote his first musical at Aldelphi, "Sacrimoralimmortality" with David Armstrong (this play was about the new Christian Right). Jonathan also met a long time girlfriend of his at Aldelphi, victoria leacock. they broke up after a while, but remained friends. Victoria even helped him produce his plays such as "tick...tick...BOOM!" and "Superbia".
Jonathan wrote music often. For extra money even wrote money for kid's shows (like "Sesame Street" and the video "Away We Go!") finally after much work, he created "Rent". Jonathan brought it to the New York Theater Workshop (located on East Fourth Street, NYC), they workshopped it there in 1994. "Rent" was revised and work on A LOT, finally in 1996 it was ready for an opening. Previews started on January 25th. Jonathan did not live to see "Rent" open; Jonathan collapse in his apartment while making tea at 3AM and died from aortic aneursym. "Rent" (and Jonathan's dream) continued on. It officially opened at NYTW on February 13th, 1996, received brilliant reviews and went on to open on broadway at the Nederlander Theater on April 29th, 1996.
Jonathan's death was very untimely and sad. He died just the day his show was going to start. Many people say this is why Rent is a success and just for the record it is NOT. Rent is a success for what it is... RENT.
His death was very unfair. Just before his dream came true. Not only that. but it happened because of carelessness. He died of an aortic anerysm. He went to 2 hospitals complaining of pain in his hearts but they both sent him home, one saying it was the flu and they other saying it was food poisoning and pumping his stomach. Though looking at his heart x-rays it was very clear what was wrong with him. If they caught what he had there was about a 90% chance he would of lived.
Yes his death DOES add impact onto the show, but I truely believed Rent would of been a VERY big success as it today if Jonathan lived to 101.
His death has a a scary reminder to live as he says "No day but today." Tomorrow isn't promised to you.
Messages like "no day but today" are all over Rent. They ring so true to Jonathan. It makes them even more believeable. Like when Roger sings Glory or Mimi's whole philosphy of "Forget regret or life is yours to miss."