“Rent” is coming to a theater near you, again

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since the curtains opened on Rent on Broadway. That’s a pretty impressive run for a Broadway musical these days, especially one not adapted from a film and then turned back into a film. In fact, when the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical ends its run on Sept. 7, it will be one of the 10 longest-running shows ever on Broadway.

I’ll never forget seeing it for the first time, when the curtains pulled apart at the Nederlander Theatre to expose the set and the piano-driven opening of “Seasons of Love.” I fell in love with the simple everyday-ness of the storyline and the modernization of La Bohème that drove it. I was also pretty fond of the fact that the trials and tribulations faced by a lesbian couple were central to the plot — not something that happens often.

I was even dazzled by the film version when it hit theaters. Of course the fact that Rosario Dawson made her appearance as Mimi didn’t hurt the film at all. Neither did the incredible Tracie Thoms’ turn as Joanne and the film’s fond treatment of one of my favorite moments: Joanne and Maureen having it out during “Take Me or Leave Me.”

Thoms is actually part of the closing company on stage, as Rent draws its 12-year, award-winning run to a close. But, given the popularity of the musical, a division of Sony Pictures called the Hot Ticket is going to film the final performance and show it in movie theaters across the U.S. for four days only: Sep. 24-28. In addition to the final performance, the film will also include extra outtakes showing the reunion of the original cast and other activities surrounding the close of the show.

Check out which theaters are showing the film, and then let’s reminisce: Have you ever seen Rent on Broadway? What’s your favorite part of the show?

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