RENT© - The musical that changed my life!

by Ryan Nowak
(Edgar, WI)

Perfect Weather for A *Rent* Scarf!

Perfect Weather for A *Rent* Scarf!

My first experience with RENT© came when I was in college.

I was like many students at the time, just out of high school, on my own for the very first time, low on funds, and but a handful of friends to spend my free time with.

We had our own little tribe and would often get together to drink, have supper, and watch movies till we basically passed out.

This was also the first time in my life that I was fighting with my own sexuality, which at times lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Luckily within my group of friends I had lesbian, gay, transsexual, and straight individuals to talk to and relate whenever I needed.

Not far into my new life I got a job in concessions at a movie theater in downtown Minneapolis, this also allowed me access to many forms of Theater, and within the following months I had the honor to attend The Lion King, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and of course RENT©.

The first time I experienced RENT© was like having a door to a new world open before me, not only was there a cast I could relate to but a story as well.

So many of the characters were going through the same troubles as I was and it blew me away at how much I could relate it to my own life.

Of all the characters in the show though, I connected most with Anthony Rapp.

After seeing the show on stage and then in the movie theater, I had to get more and was lucky to find a copy of Without You, Anthony Rapp's book about love, loss, and the musical RENT©. Of all the books I have read in my lifetime, it is one of the few that I have read in a day, kept with me in my backpack all throughout college, and has - at many times - saved my life.

As I said before there were many times when I was fighting with my own sexuality and it made it hard to figure out who I was, what I wanted, would I be accepted, and was it the right choice?

Many nights when I got depressed I would have a few drinks, break down in tears, and think about hanging myself. It was at these times that I would hear the songs of RENT© replay through my head, the scenes of the life support group in a circle just waiting for death, wondering how long they had to live.

It's at these times I would grab Anthony Rapp's book, read a few chapters while listening to the RENT© soundtrack, and it would help inspire me. I would remind me that I didn't have to change and that there were many people out there just like me, it gave me the inspiration to live another day.

So all throughout college I would randomly pop RENT© into my DVD player and let the songs and story fill my emotions, I would re-read Anthony's book over and over, these together with my friends love and support would help me not only to finish college but to live.

Eventually I worked my life out, I announce myself as bi-sexual, and I haven?t tried to commit suicide in over two years. It may not seem like much to some but I can?t begin to imagine where my life would be today if it wasn't for RENT©.

As for today, I have a loving wife, we now have a 18 month child, and I hope that one day I can share RENT© with him and the inspiration it gave me. When I first found wizardknits.com, the wonderful customer service at Hobbie's House of Wizard Wear, and that they reproduced Anthony Rapp's scarf I wanted to order it right then and there!

I am fortunate to be able to get it because I feel that within that scarf is the love, inspiration, and story of RENT©, a never-ending reminder of Jonathan Larson?s true message, one I live by and have been saved by many times.

I have never stopped watching RENT©, I still have Anthony's book within easy reach of my bookshelf, and the soundtrack is always in my car. To some people, my wife included, RENT© is just another musical, a story that she isn't really affected by like I was.

But to me and to the many RENT-HEADS out there who were affected by it like me, I hope you will keep the dream alive, never forget Jonathan Larson's dream, and remember - No day but today.



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