20 Years of RENT: Original Stars of Broadway Hit to Perform at Northport’s Engeman Theater

Stars of the original Broadway production of RENT, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, will enliven the stage of Northport’s Engeman Theater in honor of the musical’s 20th anniversary. Photo: courtesy of the Engeman Theater

John W. Engeman Theater in Northport will mark the 20th anniversary of Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking, high-voltage musical RENT with a special event, “Adam & Anthony Live,” at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17.

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, who starred in the original 1996 Broadway production, will perform some of the show’s best-loved songs. The pair also appeared in the 2005 movie where Pascal and Rapp reprised their roles as Roger Davis, a pretty boy musician whose life is complicated by AIDS and Mark Cohen, a slightly nerdish aspiring filmmaker who documents a year in his friends’ frenzied lives.

Larson rocked the theatrical world with the Broadway debut of RENT. Drawing inspiration from Puccini’s classic opera, La Bohème, Larson transposed the tale of starving artists from 1830s Paris to the East Village of the 1990s. RENT follows the intertwined journeys of a group of struggling artists trying to make their mark on the world, while finding love and acceptance.

The highly acclaimed musical ran for a record-setting 12 years and not only toured the United States, but around the world. Bedazzled critics gave the work the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and a trio of Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Obie Awards.

RENT wowed Engeman theatergoers in ‘09. Attendees at the upcoming show will be reminded of what made RENT so unique. A poetic flight of fancy grounded in some of life’s harshest realities, it is Larson’s brilliant juxtaposition of highs and lows, humor and tragedy, despair and hope that made RENT so touching and unforgettable.

There will be material from both artists’ solo shows. Pascal and Rapp will also reminisce about working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and composer Larson, a struggling artist himself, who tragically never glimpsed the heights to which his theatrical brainchild would soar.

Seven years into the project, he died of an aortic dissection caused by a misdiagnosed medical condition hours after the final dress rehearsal. He was 10 days shy of his 36th birthday.

Tickets are $40 for season ticketholders and $75 for the general public and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 631-261-2900 or visiting www.engemantheater.com