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Jonathan Larson

February 4, 1960 - January 25, 1996

Jonathan Larson was born in White Plains, just out of NYC on February 7th, 1960. Jon and his sister were treated to visits to the theatre at least twice a year by their theatre loving parents, and by the time Jon had reached kindergarten he was organising his friends into small theatricals. By third grade he had written, directed and starred in his very own play.

When Jon reached high school, he was so renowned as an actor that his school created an entire performing arts program to accomodate his talents. He won a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Adelphi University, where Jon practically ran the musical theatre program, which had been modelled on that of Yale.

After graduating in 1982, Jon left for New York City, having been advised by his mentor, composer Stephen Sondheim, "There are alot more starving actors out there than there are starving composers" and therefore leading Jon to focus entirely on writing.

It's interesting to hear about Jon's life in New York. He lived as a Bohemian, staying in a scruffy loft where he and his roommates used, for some time, "an illegal wood burning stove." He dated a dancer for four years who sometimes left him for other men and eventually left him for another woman.

The idea of RENT came from Billy Aronson, a Yale trained playwright, who wanted to turn the Puccini opera La Boheme into a musical. Acquaintances of Billy suggested Jonathan as a writer.

After conflicts involving just who's society RENT was to focus on, Billy's Upper West Side or Jon's lower crust, Jon asked Billy if he could make the show his own. Billy said yes.

Jon and a number of colleagues, including Jim Nicola, artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop, Jeffrey Seller, a young producer, and Michael Greif, a New York director, began to shape RENT into what we now love and cherish.

Jonathan Larson died on January 25, 1996, the night before his masterpiece was to be revealed to the world.

It was decided that the performance would proceed as planned, if only to treasure Jon's memory all the more. But Jim Nicola decided it was to be only a sing-through, no movement, just singing. The cast held their seats through the first act, but as the show continued, they were unable to restrain themselves. They began acting, dancing. Original cast member Anthony Rapp recalls, "It was incredible and terrible...We were all sobbing and crying."

Jonathan Larson's talent was and forever will be unparalleled, and thanks to his beautiful gift to us, his message will continue to inspire.


"Seasons of Love"

I thought this would be a beautiful way to honour Jonathan Larson's memory - here are the four Guardians of the Seasons.

They are (L-R) Adriana, Guardian of Spring; Timandra, Guardian of Summer; Audrey, Guardian of Autumn; and Katharina, Guardian of Winter.


Bring Me Home!

Thought & Picture For The Moment!

Jonathan Larson! / Idina Menzel! / Adopt-A-Collins! / My Dollhouse! / La Vie Boheme! / Australian Cast! / Original Broadway Cast!

Les Miserables!
Anthony Warlow! / Original London Cast! / Original Broadway Cast! / 10th Anniversary Concert Cast! / Complete Symphonic Recording! / Manchester Highlights! / Quotes from the book!