The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

(NOTE TO EDITORS: The media representative for "Rent" is Amy Katz at 212-391-8226. She can be reached by e-mail at

'Rent' comes to UI Hancher Auditorium Feb. 23-28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical "Rent," written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, is coming to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for eight performances -- at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 23-26 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28.

Inspired by Puccini's "La Boheme," "Rent" is a joyous and often bittersweet musical that celebrates a community of artists as they struggle with the soaring hopes and tough realities of today's world.

"Rent," considered by many the most exuberant and original American musical to come along in a decade, has reinvigorated Broadway and is taking the country by storm. Sweeping all major theater awards, including the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, "Rent" captures the heart and spirit of a generation.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on Feb. 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews. It rapidly became a sold-out hit. The show transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996 and continues to play to standing room only audiences.

The most honored musical since "A Chorus Line" in 1976, "Rent" is only the fifth musical to ever win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.

Newsweek magazine critic Jack Kroll described "Rent" as "The breakthrough musical for the '90s . . . A moving, funny, thrilling musical with an irresistibly singable score, performed by a youthful cast with explosive talent and staggering energy."

Richard Zoglin of Time magazine called "Rent" "the most exuberant and original American musical to come along this decade." Ben Brantley proclaimed that the show "shimmers with hope for the future of the American musical." And Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press hailed "Rent" as "a full-fledged theatrical event that, for once, actually lives up to the hype."

The success of "Rent" has been tempered by the death of its creator, Jonathan Larson. Larson died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on the morning of Jan. 25, 1996, just hours after "Rent's" final dress rehearsal off-Broadway, and 10 days before his 36th birthday.

Produced by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon and New York Theatre Workshop, "Rent" features musical direction by Tim Weil, Tony Award-winning choreography by Marlies Yearby, set design by Paul Clay, costume design by Angela Wendt and lighting design by Blake Burba.

"Rent" contains mature subject matter and language. The show is not recommended for children under the age of 13.

The corporate sponsor of the "Rent" performances is Telegroup, Inc., through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from the Gazette.

Remaining tickets for the Feb. 23-25 performances are $42.50 and $35. UI students, senior citizens and youth (17 and younger) qualify for a 20-percent discount.

Remaining tickets for the Feb. 26-28 performances are $49.50 and $40.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Audio description for audience members with visual impairment will be available at the 2 p.m. Feb. 28 performance.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. The "Rent" web site is