Parent Guide: RENT 20th Anniversary Tour


This production addresses challenging social issues and includes some sexual content and language (including the F-word) that makes it appropriate for pre-teens and older.


A re-imagining of Puccini’s 1896 classic opera “La Bohème,” “RENT” follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.


A “bohemian” is defined as a person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior. The word first crept into use during the latter part of the 19th century as a description of artists, authors, painters and musicians who lived on the fringes of society.

Much like the characters in “RENT,” bohemians did without many of the basic comforts of life in an effort to use their resources to further their artistic goals. Often homeless, or living as squatters, many bohemians did not have steady jobs. For bohemians, money is of little importance. Their relationships with others in their community and their common ideas on life and art were what they treasured.

In addition to the value of community, “RENT” explores many of the socially relevent themes of the 1990s, including homelessness and HIV/AIDS. The first reported cases of AIDS in the United States were diagnosed in 1981. By the time “RENT” was in the final stages of development, AIDS had become the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25-44. .


The original Broadway production of “RENT” featured actors Jesse L. Martin (“Law and Order”), Take Diggs (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), Idina Menzel (“Wicked” and “Frozen”) and Adam Pascal (currently touring in “Something Rotten!”).


  1. Many of the themes explored in “RENT” were not openly discussed when the show premiered in 1996. What has changed in society since then?
  2. Why is “RENT” still relevant today?
  3. Many of the characters in “RENT” think capitalism is evil. Why do you think that is? Do you agree?


Questions? Comment below and we’ll answer as quickly and as best we can!