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Broadway's 'Rent' exits stage left (thank goodness)

I never caught the musical's frenzy, and fans wouldn't cut me slack.

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Amid the current housing crisis, one foreclosure is welcome. "Rent" will take its final bow at the Nederlander Theatre in New York on Sept. 7, after 12 years on Broadway. Many will mourn the loss of the rock musical, no doubt, but not me.

I came of age as a musical-theater geek when "Rent" first opened and racked up praise and awards. I was a drama student in Manhattan when "Rent" evolved into a cult classic.

My friends stood in line for hours for rush tickets or to see their favorite original cast member live in concert. My idealism supported the show's message of equality and the pursuit of love and art. I was predestined to love the show.

For a while, I tried. I listened to the cast recording. I saw performances. I even made a last-ditch effort by watching the movie. I attempted to cultivate an appreciation because I felt I was missing something.

There had to be a reason why so many adored the musical. It won Pulitzer, Tony, Drama Desk, and Obie awards. Yet, despite all the effort, I never liked "Rent."

I must be in the minority. At least, that is how I feel when someone is discussing theater with me and proclaims his love of the show. "Don't you just adore 'Rent'?" "Not really," I reply. After a moment of incredulous sputters or mute stares, I attempt to soothe the conversation with a weak, "Sorry."


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