Open Forum

Topic: RENT School Edition 

1.  RENT School Edition

Posted 09-07-2017 08:50
I am considering RENT as my spring musical this year and have been given permission by my admin to produce the show IF I do the authorized School Edition. Has anyone produced this version and if so, how does it compare to the original? I am fine with toning down the language of the piece (the biggest concern for my admin, frankly. It's a progressive school and they are fine with the subject matter) but I don't want to produce the show if the integrity of it is severely compromised. I'd probably prefer to just pick a different musical. 
Any thoughts?

John D. Monteverde
PHS - Drama Teacher

2.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-07-2017 23:39
Here is the link for the Rent School Edition listing from MTI. It goes over the changes made to script and you can also order a perusal.

Hugh Fletcher
Performing Arts Coordinator
IS 229 Dr. Roland Patterson Middle School
Roosevelt NY

3.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-08-2017 07:42
I was skeptical when I heard about the High School edition of RENT, but was urged by a theatre teacher from another school to give it a look.  I was quite surprised that the script/score had minimal changes.  The two biggest ones were the elimination of "Contact" and one verse of "La Vie Boheme". Aside from that, and the slight clean-up of language, the show was intact. We did it in 2012 and it was a remarkable experience. We contacted community support groups on homelessness and AIDS to educate the cast. (They set up tables in our lobby during the perfomances to educate our audiences.) I would not hesitate to recommend it, especially if you have administrative support.

Michael Bergman

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time" 

― Thomas Merton

4.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-08-2017 08:52
I produced RENT in 2010 and our administration was very nervous about it. The changes to the script are not huge- they cut "Contact," some verses of La Vie Boheme are removed, and it's "cleaned up" in general. I found it to work really nicely for our needs. At the end of the show, our principal remarked on how pleased he was with the show, and how sorry he was to have given us a hard time about it. It was an excellent production, and the kids had a terrific experience. I hope you go through with it!

5.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-08-2017 08:50
I did the school edition back around the time it first came out in 2008. I do not believe the integrity of the piece is compromised by the minor language changes and the elimination of the song "Contact." It was a fantastic experience. 

6.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-08-2017 11:05
Edited by Corinne Walker 09-08-2017 11:07

I love the Junior versions
Corinne Walker
Private voice teacher
Mesa, Arizona

7.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-13-2017 11:47
I was a part of the school edition of RENT when I was in High School. Other than getting rid of "Contact" and some parts of "La Vie Boheme", it was mostly in tact.

It truly was an amazing experience.

Jason Wylie
NJ Thespians
STO and Alumni Coordinator

8.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 09-30-2017 23:24
I directed the RENT School Edition with a youth community theatre (we were the first in Mississippi to produce it) and it was an incredible experience. We even took a cutting to our state community theatre festival and won and competed at SETC...The judges even commented that they were laughing before the show and calling it Rent Jr, expecting it to be terrible...but were completely surprised by it. The script itself if very much intact. Major offensive language is cut out, Contact is cut, and most songs are cut down by 1 verse (which, frankly is okay...those songs are long). The students that participated in our production were deeply affected by the experience and still cherish it; they're all grownups now (this was 2008).
I would do it again in a HEARTBEAT if I thought my school district would tolerate it. But, no such luck on that one. Good luck in your endeavor! It's an incredible piece!

Juniper Wallace
Theatre Director
Brandon MS

9.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 10-09-2017 18:45
Thank you all for the feedback as this is one show I am considering as for next fall. Are any of your schools, Catholic schools? Although we have a soft "ok", there is some nervous energy as you might imagine. Just looking to see if any Catholic or religiously affiliated schools have done this. Safety in numbers, right?

James Fry
Director of Student Life and the Malvern Theatre Society
Malvern, PA

10.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 10-14-2017 16:57
We did it last year and had a terrific experience- I would say that in some ways the show works better with HS students and some of the cuts strengthen it.

I will just add that they also change some of the music selections to work better for HS singers and add in chorus to What you Own. It may seem strange, but Roger and Mark are exhausted by this point in the show. It is a good move.

William Addis
Chair of Visual and Performing Arts
Westtown School
West Chester PA

11.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 10-15-2017 08:16
Some small changes.  We had to make a change in the lyric when Lexi says something about Labor Day weekend since the season of that what make sense story wise.  Needs to be in Spring to make coherent sense. Other small changes. Namely that Angel's death which now happens at the end of WITHOUT YOU is not really highlighted as it was in CONTACT.  We did some things in WITHOUT YOU that made that clear story wise.  We also made a video that plays at the end of he show as the cast sings "No Day But Today". that helped bridge the time divide from late 80's/early 90's to current day.  We showed all the monumental achievements and progress that happened in that time Gay Marriage, election of the first Black President, Facebook etc. it was as if it was Mark's documentary film he made in the future.

i was a RENT cynic before I went into this production.  The show is a bit of a mess story wise.  But having said that,  the show was a magical experience and our company poured their hearts out.  It was a special, special show.  We participate in something called the Halo Awards, the Tony Awards for Connecticut High school theatre, and our show was nominated for Best Musical in the state.

If your school gives gives a thumbs up and if you have the actors who are brave enough to perform it then go for it!


Jason Peck
St. Luke's School
New Canaan CT

12.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 10-23-2017 17:31
I'd pick a different musical.

John Morris
Instructor/Technical Director
Clark County School District
Las Vegas NV

13.  RE: RENT School Edition

Posted 10-24-2017 08:33
Great show with a strong message.  If you're willing to take on the political baggage your community may bring, go for it.  If you're a:
Public High School? Pick a different show.
Private High School? Have several meetings with parents before auditions. Consider picking another show.
Community Theatre? If you don't have kick-butt singers, pick a different show.
Professional Theatre? Make sure you have lots of money in your endowment/publicity budget. Do tons of outreach with rights groups and the medical community.

Break a leg.

Josh Ruben, M. Ed.
Fine Arts Head
Northwest Whitfield HS (dba, The Northwest Theatre Co.)
Tunnel Hill, GA