“Rent” & AIDS Legacy Discussion at Dean College

RJ Carr
3 min readOct 18, 2023
Photo Credit: CanvaPro/this is not a photo of the performance

Franklin, Massachusetts — Dean College, an accredited, private, co-educational institution based in Southern Massachusetts, announces a discussion of the legacy of AIDS forty years later. It will be conducted on the campus November 18 following the college’s live drama presentation of the musical “Rent”.

“Rent” is the award-winning musical drama that retells the story portrayed in Puccini’s 19th-century Italian opera LaBohemme from a late 20th-century perspective. Featuring a group of young adults living a bohemian lifestyle, it takes place on New York’s Lower East Side. The internationally acclaimed production went on to win a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize and more to say nothing of a host of nominations. Sadly, the author, Jonathon Larson never saw its presentation. He died the morning of its debut performance of an aneurysm.

Despite this tragedy, the musical’s debut performance went on at the New York Theatre Workshop located near the Bowery and Second Street in Manhattan.

International Acclaim

Since its premiere, “Rent” received international acclaim. The musical-drama centered also around the reality of AIDS that was ravaging the gay community at the time.

In 2005, film director Chris Columbus brought the production to film which also enjoyed critical acclaim.

Dean College to display the AIDS Quilt

In recognition of the legacy and message of Rent, Dean College will display the AIDS quilt on November 14 and 15 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. in the Dr. Paula M. Rooney Student Center Concourse.

The AIDS quilt recognizes the lives of those who succumbed to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which ravaged many in and out of the Gay community. It is a collection of patches of cloth sewn together-each one a personal memorial of the life of an individual who died of the disease.

Following the 2 p.m. matinee of “Rent” on November 18 , the college will offer a discussion of the legacy of the AIDS epidemic 40 years later. Dr. Kristin Holster, professor of sociology at Dean College, and Dr. Helen Lewis-Michelson, associate professor of theatre at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee will be among those…

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