The hit musical RENT, Jonathan Larson’s legendary rock opera, opens April 7 at the C. Walsh Theatre with a cast of 16 Suffolk University students.

RENT recounts the struggles and dreams of a group of young friends in Manhattan’s gritty East Village in the 1990s. The musical’s exploration of the eternal themes of youthful passion and rebellion won the Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize and Richard Rodgers Award.

RENT reflects the struggle of people fighting to survive within the city’s ceaseless re-invention,” said Theatre Department Chair Marilyn Plotkins. “We are privileged to have SpeakEasy Stages’ Paul Melone as our guest director. He and his extraordinary team of theater artists have led with enormous vision and creativity to tell this deeply moving, timeless story.

“Our students in the ensemble have given so much of themselves to this production. Their individual and collective performances are remarkable.”

Musical direction is by Scott Nicholas, with choreography by David Connolly. The music of RENT, soaringly beautiful and at times raucous and loud, includes songs like the rock-anthem title track “Rent,” the bittersweet “Seasons of Love,” and the heart-wrenching “Light My Candle.”

Melone, an Elliot Norton award-winner, reminisced about his introduction to RENT.

“In 1997 I camped out at dawn in a sleeping bag on a Boston sidewalk under a theater marquee," said Melone. "I was going to get my ticket to RENT, for a front-row discount seat inches from the stage. I did not go as a fan but as a tourist, a skeptic, wary of the hype. That show cracked my young theater-mind wide open. I thought musicals were about limitations and rules—but RENT broke every one of them.”

RENT will be the final Suffolk University Theatre Department production in the C. Walsh Theatre.

RENT Dates & Tickets

April 7-10, 2016
C. Walsh Theatre, 41 Temple St., Boston

Adults ($15); Students with valid ID ($10)
Call 617-573-8282 or order online