Rent is based off “La bohème” written by Giacomo Puccini. From its beginning Jonathan’s goal with this piece was to “Bring Musical Theatre to the MTV generation”. He began writing RENT with a partner but they later parted ways. Jonathan then took on the behemoth.
He took this opera and gave it a makeover while still leaving some ties. In the early 90s he began dissecting and he went IN. The next two days we’re focusing on the nods towards La bohème. I had some much fun nerding out and just living in this material.
Ties in the names
If you look at the character names in both RENT and La bohème you’ll see they match up. The most noticeable is the character of Benoît, in the opera he is a landlord. Much like Benny, or Benjamin Coffin the third who is Mark and Roger’s former friend and landlord. Colline, in the opera is a philosopher. His counterpart is Tom Collins, a college philosophy professor. Then in Mimi the seamstress and Schaunard the musician, if you’re a RENT head you already know these names. In RENT, their counterparts are Mimi Marquez and Angel Dumott Schunard.
Come back tomorrow for the character nods and maybe even in musical motifs!