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Release: Sept. 22, 2000

(NOTE TO EDITORS: A variety of production images for the "Benny" Tour of "Rent" are mounted at the website. A fax form for interview requests is available from Arts Center Relations. All print outlets who receive UI releases by e-mail should also receive several "Rent" scans by e-mail. We’ve learned that some scans have not been reaching their destinations, due to the size of the files. Alert us if the scans do not arrive.)

'Rent,' which set sales records last visit, returns to UI Hancher Auditorium Oct. 10-15

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical "Rent," which set sales records when it made its first visit to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium in 1999, will return Oct. 10-15 for eight more supercharged performances -- at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Oct. 10-13, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.

Inspired by Puccini’s "starving-artist" opera "La Boheme," "Rent" is a joyous and often bittersweet musical that celebrates a community of New York lower-east-side artists as they struggle with the soaring hopes and tough realities of today’s world.

"Rent," considered by many to be the most exuberant and original American musical to come along in a decade, reinvigorated Broadway and took 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, playing to standing room only audiences.

The critical and popular conquest of "Rent" continued when the show first visited the UI in February 1999. Ticket revenues broke the Hancher sales record set by "Les Miserables."

In addition to the Broadway production and the North American tour, "Rent’ is now playing in South Korea, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland. New productions and tours of existing productions will soon hit South Africa, Hungary, Denmark, the UK, Greece, Portugal, Argentina, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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.

"Rent" is directed by Michael Greif, and 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 the Sheraton Iowa City, through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from KDAT-FM/KHAK-FM/KRNA-FM.

Tickets for the Oct. 10-13 performances are $55, $49 and $40.50. Weeknight tickets for UI students, senior citizens and youth (17 and younger) are $44, $39.20 and $32.40.

Tickets for the Oct. 14-15 performances are $59, $54 and $44.50.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance 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.

Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <>.

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.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. The "Rent" web site is To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.