Whenever I mention the musical Rent, I usually get one of these reactions:
Reaction Number One: "I LOVE RENT! IT IS SO AMAZING!"
(This is the reaction that makes me want to do a little jig out of pure happiness.)
Reaction Number Two: "Rent is all about gay people and AIDS, it's weird and creepy!"
(This is the reaction that makes me want to punch that person in the face and never talk to them again.).
Yes, Rent focuses on people living with AIDS. Yes, some charcters are homosexual; one is a drag queen. Yes, one of them is a stripper and addicted to herion. Yes, there is sexual content, drug references, and foul language. If you're a little shocked by all of the mature content as you watch the musical or even the film version, ask yourself how real it all is.
It's very real. Rent is a story about characters with struggles that people have to battle every day; through all of those battles, they choose to celebrate life and make the most out of the time they have left. Rent is not just a story about modern Bohemians in New York City. It's about all of us.
Now, Reaction Number Two people, find yourself a Rent DVD or buy tickets to the next local show, and keep that in mind. And then if you don't like it, fine, but don't shut it out just because the thematic elements are not the same as High School Musical. Reaction Number One people, see it again, just because you know you want to. =)
"There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today."