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Jonathan Larson
Rent Poster

Jonathan Larson graduated with Theatre Adelphi Class of ’82. He was an acting major, but his passion was the musical theatre. Already an accomplished singer, songwriter and pianist when he joined the program, he forged and honed his show scoring talents working with Nick in the Adelphi Cabaret. Jon always credited his days at Adelphi, and listed Jacques as a mentor and influence.

Jonathan took the path of the true struggling artist. By graduation he had decided to devote himself to becoming a writer of musicals. Working on his craft in workshops, seeking grants and fellowships and waiting tables to keep food on his, Jonathanathan pursued his dream. His crowning achievement, of course, was the Broadway musical Rent. The list of awards for this work are as follows:

• 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
• Four 1996 Tony Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score of a Musical)
• Six Drama Desk Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Music and Best Lyrics)
• Best Musical Awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle (Off-B’way)
• Three Obie Awards (including Outstanding Book, Music and Lyrics). 

In a tragedy to rival any the theatre could offer, Jonathan never lived to see his show open on Broadway. He died of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm, believed to have been caused by Marfan Syndrome, on January 25, 1996, ten days before his 36th birthday. Three months later, Rent opened on Broadway, April 29, 1996. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008, after a 12-year run and 5,124 performances, making it the eighth-longest-running Broadway show, eight years behind The Phantom of the Opera. The production grossed over $280 million.(Source: Wikipedia.)

Today, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation works "to provide financial support and encouragement to a new generation of musical theatre composers, lyricists and bookwriters, as well as nonprofit theatre companies that develop and produce their work." Donations are accepted. There's also a nice bio of Jonathan on the site.


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