Theater lover left ‘rent’ because ‘show was about gays’

No matter how famous something is, there’s always someone who hasn’t heard of it.

For example, To rentthe Broadway musical that adapts Giacomo Puccini Bohemian placing it in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis, won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, four Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

It was adapted into a major Hollywood film and made Taye Diggs, Anthony Rapp and Idina Menzel major stars. It only closed after 12 years on Broadway, making it the 11th longest running show of all time.

Despite all his praise, a theatergoer from Leeds was apparently unaware of the contents of the play. During a matinee performance at the Carriagework Theater hosted by theater company Bite My Thumb on Saturday, an audience member left, according to Bite My Thumb.

The audience member left = during the performance of “Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me,” sung by drag queen character Angel. The exiting viewer told a staff member that he was leaving because “I didn’t realize this show was about gay people”.

A viewer walked out of a production of “Rent” on Saturday, telling the room he didn’t realize the show was “about gay people.” This photo shows a performance of “Rent” in 2012 at Bryant Park in New York City.
Janette Pellegrini/Getty

The show follows seven artists in New York City, about half of whom are LGBT, as they create works in lofts owned by their former friend. Five of the characters are HIV positive or living with AIDS.

“All of the cast, creators and behind-the-scenes crew of the production were completely disgusted to hear about this display of ignorance. As a theater company, we deliberately chose To rent to give voice to the LGBTQ+ community and educate about the horrors of the AIDS epidemic,” Bite My Thumb said in a declaration.

“In an effort to take a single individual’s hate and create something positive out of it, Bite My Thumb will donate a percentage of the box office of this performance to an LGBTQ+ charity to be chosen by our distribution,” the statement continued. “So thank you to this close-minded, overwhelmed individual. Your appalling attitude now means an underfunded LGBTQ+ organization will receive a desperately needed donation and put it to good use.”

“Hate is always stupid and love is always wise,” the statement concludes.

As of now, Bite My Thumb has not revealed which charity it will donate to, or the size of the donation.

Newsweek contacted Bite My Thumb for more information.

To rent, created in 1996, was written by Jonathan Larson, who died suddenly the day before its off-Broadway premiere. Larson also wrote Tick, tick… Boom!, a semi-autobiographical story about a composer working on his latest musical, which we hope will finally be his big breakthrough. The musical was adapted in 2021 for Universal Studios and Netflix by hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film adaptation of Tick, tick… Boom! is Miranda’s directorial debut.


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