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'Rent' belongs with 'Phantom' as one of Broadway's giants

Every hit Broadway show closes eventually, as "Rent" finally did earlier this month after a run of 5,461 performances that began in 1996. A rock musical about young artists in New York that was inspired by Puccini's opera, "La Bohème," "Rent" became a favorite of "Rentheads," fans who took advantage of the innovative practice of selling same-day orchestra seats for $20 in a lottery. Although the stage is now dark at the venerable Nederlander Theatre on West 41st Street, "Rent" will continue as a touring show during a 30-week run, beginning in January. A high-definition film version, captured during the show's last performances, also will be shown in US and Canadian movie theaters Sept. 24-25 and Sept. 27-28. Broadway's all-time longest-running shows, and the number of times performed continuously through Sept. 5, according to Wikipedia:

  • 1. 'The Phantom of the Opera'* 8,567
  • 2. 'Cats' 7,485
  • 3. 'Les Misérables' 6,680
  • 4. 'A Chorus Line' 6,137
  • 5. 'Oh! Calcutta!' (revival) 6,137
  • 6. 'Beauty and the Beast' 5,461
  • 7. 'Rent' 5,461
  • 8. 'Chicago' (revival)* 4,897
  • 9. 'The Lion King'* 4,482
  • 10. 'Miss Saigon' 4,,092 * still running on Broadway
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