NEW YORK – "Rent," the acclaimed musical chronicle of counterculture life and death in Manhattan's East Village, will close in June after more than a dozen years on Broadway, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The rock-inflected reinterpretation of the Puccini opera "La Boheme" will become the seventh-longest-running Broadway show in history when it closes after its evening performance June 1, The New York Times reported.
The musical reeled in four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, grossed more than $280 million on Broadway and $330 million more in productions elsewhere, spun off a 2005 movie and fostered the careers of such actors as Taye Diggs and Jesse L. Martin.
Co-producer Jeffrey Seller told the newspaper that ticket sales slowed noticeably in the fall. He did not immediately return a telephone call early Wednesday from The Associated Press.
Seller told the Times the show faced competition from such newer musicals as "Legally Blonde: The Musical," which opened in April 2007, and "Spring Awakening," which opened in December 2006.
Still, when "Rent" opened, "I couldn't have foreseen that we'd get to five years," he said.
"Rent" examines the struggles of a group of artists and outcasts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, celebrating their pluck, camaraderie and commitment to self-expression while also dealing frankly with drug addiction, AIDS, and loss. The show's own story was nearly as heart-rending and dramatic as its characters': Its 35-year-old creator, Jonathan Larson, died of a heart condition three weeks before "Rent" opened off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in February 1996. It moved to Broadway that April.
Larson's father, Al, told the Times in a telephone interview that he was glad the show could live on in schools and small theaters after its Broadway run ends. But he added: "For essentially 12 years I've been saying I'd trade the whole business in if Jonny could still be alive. I still feel that way."