On April 25 ,1996 Jonathan Larson’s rock-opera RENT opened at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway in New York City. It was a musical that changed the look and sound of musical theater forever, ushering in a new era in musical theater.
The musical chronicles the lives of a group of bohemians living on the lower east side of Manhattan as they cope with poverty, heartache, and disease.
This musical holds a special place in my heart and in the lives of some of my closest friends, so you can imagine how overwhelmed with emotion I became upon learning that my friend Scottie McLaughlin had been cast in the role of Tom Collins in the Japan production.
I met Scottie in 1998 at The American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City where we were both students in their musical theater program. We quickly became friends and later roommates. We both felt a connection to the message in this show and knew that if given the chance we could do the show 8x a week, hell we’d even do it for free. Rent was the show that every performer in New York City wanted to land a job in, even if they wouldn’t admit it.
I look back on my days in New York City with very fond memories, despite us being poor as hell, living in horrible conditions, and at times facing eviction, I was surrounded by Scottie, Charles, Alicia, and Christian, people who knew how to give love and receive it in return. We lived what the characters in RENT are singing about.
Dreams do come true. I can remember playing the lottery with Scottie in front of the Nederlander Theater in an attempt to win $20 tickets to see the show from the front row, now he’s going to be apart of the cast !
Scottie when you go onstage every night I want you to remember all of the endless callbacks we went through, all of the times people told you no, all of the times casting agents tried to put you in a box because they didn’t know how to package your look, remember the apartment in Brooklyn we shared that should have been closed by the health department, remember all the struggles and use it towards your advantage.Take those hard times onstage and tell Jonathan’s story, our story.
I couldn’t be more proud of you...No Day But Today.