The landmark Broadway musical “Rent” will finally close at the Nederlander Theatre in New York after the evening performance on Sunday, September 7, 2008, after playing 5,124 performances and 16 previews, producers have announced.
There had been buzz that the seventh longest running show in Broadway history would extend longer. It has grossed over $280 million during its Broadway run.
The producers have made available a limited number of $20 same-day tickets for the final performance. Lottery names will begin to be taken at 11 AM and the lottery will be drawn at noon. There will be 32 seats available (two fewer than usual due to the filming of the performance). Tickets will be paid for in cash at the box office at noon and picked up prior to the show with proper ID. No standing room will be sold for the performance.
“Rent” was responsible for helping to usher in a number of important changes to Broadway and its marketing, including the use of simpler, more contemporary advertising and logo design; the rebirth of 41st Street’s Nederlander Theatre; a shop and windows at Bloomingdales that featured clothing inspired by the show and its costumes; the institution of same day front row seats priced at $20; and the appeal to and attraction of teen and college-age audiences.
As the first show to sell same day orchestra seats for $20, “Rent” attracted a huge number of repeat visitors who came to be known as Rentheads. Many fans saw the show 10, 20, or 30 times, and some as many as a hundred or more.
Originally, hundreds of people lined up overnight (or over two nights!) to have a chance at the discounted tickets until the sale was changed to a lottery format, which then attracted huge numbers of contestants, often in the hundreds, for the prized seats in the first two rows. Even today over a hundred people can be seen nightly in front of the Nederlander Theatre waiting for their chance at a front row $20 seat to their favorite show.
Tours of “Rent” have crisscrossed the country almost continuously since late 1996 and the U.S. national tours have grossed over $330 million. A national tour starring original cast members Adam Pascal (“Roger”) and Anthony Rapp (“Mark”) will launch in 2009.
The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents, including in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.