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Jonathan Larson’s Family Talks ‘RENT’ Legacy Ahead of 20th Anniversary Tour [BROADWAY'S BEST]

By James Knight J.knight@classicalite.com on Jan 30, 2016 07:40 PM EST

RENT composer and playwright Jonathan Larson passed away on Jan. 25, 1996, the very same morning that his Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning work opened for previews. Even though he unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see, RENT has had a profound impact on millions and millions of fans all around the world. Now Larson’s sister and father are opening up about his legacy ahead of the 20th Anniversary tour of the Broadway classic.

After his death, Jonathan Larson’s sister Julie and father Al became heavily involved in the legacy of RENT. With a new 20th anniversary tour in the works, Playbill sat down Al and Julie to discuss Jonathan’s legacy. When asked why her and her father attended various productions, all around the world, Julie replied:

“From my perspective, we felt it was important for us to be as many places as Jon would have been, had he lived. I don't think we ever actually discussed the ‘why.’ It was just something we all felt compelled to do, and it was amazing and unbelievable to us to watch the trajectory of RENT unfold. We wanted to be personally involved and observe how RENT touched people's' lives all around the world. It was also cathartic, in some ways, while simultaneously being extremely difficult, emotionally.”

Jonathan’s father Al went on to add his own answer to the question, saying:

“As I've said over and over, I was in a total funk for several years after Jon died, and -- even though I hadn't the slightest idea of what I was doing -- had this mad urge to make sure everyone understood that it was Jonnie's show, to be presented as if he was there keeping everyone on their toes. I don't think I fully appreciated that the show got into the blood of the people involved in it, and they didn't need my urging at all.”

The 20th Anniversary touring production of RENT kicks off this fall. Producer Stephen Gabriel spoke to Broadway World about the upcoming tour:

"For the past 20 years, RENT has touched the lives of audiences around the world from Broadway to regional productions to high school auditoriums. We're thrilled to introduce a new generation to this timeless story of love, friendship and community."

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TagsJonathan Larson, Family, Rent, Legacy, Ahead, 20th Anniversary Tour, Tour