Theatre

Theatre goer storms out of musical Rent because they ‘didn’t realise it was about gays’

Maggie Baska March 14, 2022
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Angel Dumott Schunard sings "Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me" during the Rent film

Angel Dumott Schunard sings "Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me" during the Rent film. (Columbia/Revolution, Universal)

An “ignorant” audience member walked out of a weekend performance of Rent after discovering the LGBT+ musical “was about gays”.

Community arts group Bite My Thumb issued a statement on Twitter following the “horrible incident” during the Saturday (12 March) matinee performance at Leeds’ Carriagework Theatre. 

According to the group, a single audience member “picked up their coat, rose from their chair and left the auditorium” after a “storming” rendition of the iconic song “Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me”. 

“On exiting, the individual turned to a member of the front of the house team and declared ‘I DIDN’T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT GAYS’,” Bite My Thumb wrote. 

The group said that the entire cast, creatives and backstage crew were “utterly disgusted” to hear “about this display of small minded ignorance”. Bite My Thumb added it had chosen the Jonathan Larson musical to give a “voice to the LGBTQ+ community and educate on the horrors of the AIDS pandemic”. 

The group declared it would be “donating a percentage of that performance’s box office” to an LGBT+ charity in a “bid to take a single individual’s hate and create something positive from it”. 

“So thank you to that close minded, out-dated person,” Bite My Thumb wrote. 

“Your appalling attitude now means an underfunded LGBTQ+ organisation will receive a donation it so desperately needs and will put to good use.

“Hate is always foolish, and love is always wise.”

The Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical Rent focuses on the lives of a group of friends in New York City’s East Village during the late 80s and early 90s. The friends battle financial woes, drug abuse, political unrest, love and social hardships as they try to build the lives of their dreams. 

Rent quickly became beloved within the LGBT+ and theatre community for its deliberately diverse cast of queer characters and HIV positive stories.

The Broadway production of Rent closed in 2008 after running a full 12 years, making it among the longest-running shows on Broadway

 

More: Homophobia, Jonathan Larson, rent

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