One the most influential modern musicals opens the 2023 Rainbow Stage season.  



Loosely based on Puccini’s La Boheme, Rent follows a group of artists, performers and philosophers, as they struggle through hardship and the AIDS epidemic, while still finding love, friendship and the art of creation. 

“It just revolutionized how you can tell stories through music,” says Rainbow Stage Artistic Director Carson Nattrass.  

Released nearly 30 years ago – and last seen on Rainbow Stage in 2010 – the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning work premiered on Broadway in 1996. Book, music and lyrics by all by Jonathan Larson, the story gives voice to the under-represented while reimagining how the entire musical form could be presented.  

Rent was one of these pivotal moments where it brough rock into the musical theatre genre while also telling new stories,” says Nattrass. “It really spoke to the youth.”  

“The music on Broadway (at the time) did not reflect the music that young people were listening to,” adds cast member Elliot Lazar. “Young people were not coming to Broadway.”  

Performing the role of filmmaker Mark Cohen, this production marks a return to Rainbow Stage for the Winnipeg-born and raised actor, singer, vocal coach and multi-instrumentalist.  

“I grew up going to Rainbow,” says Lazar, whose childhood home was five minutes away from Kildonan Park. Having studied at the University of Manitoba before grad school at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Lazar now works across Canada and the United States in theatre, film, opera and concert.  

Little Mermaid (2014) was my first big job and that was such a huge thing to do at Rainbow.”  

The longest running and largest open air theatre in Canada, Rainbow Stage has become a hallmark of summer in the city and has provided entertainment to generations of live music lovers.  

Rent opens Wednesday, June 28 and runs through July 16.  

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