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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 4 February 1960Mount Vernon, New York, USA
Date of Death 25 January 1996New York City, New York, USA  (aneurysm from Marfan's syndrome)
Nickname Jon

Mini Bio (2)

Jonathan Larson was born to Allan and Nanette Larson in Mount Vernon, New York, on February 4, 1960. A talented actor and musician, he was offered a full scholarship to Adelphi University on Long Island, where he met his idol (and later mentor) Stephen Sondheim. After graduating, he moved to the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan and, over a period of 12 years, wrote many plays and musicals, including the off-Broadway hit "Tick...tick...BOOM!" It wasn't until 1994, however, that he began work on what would be known as Rent. Finished in 1995, the musical was set to go into previews off-Broadway in early 1996. However, the night of the final dress rehearsal, Jonathan died of an aortic dissection as a result of later-to-be-known Marfan's syndrome.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: mappychris

Jonathan Larson was born in White Plains, New York, in Westchester County to a Jewish family. Since he was little he was exposed to the performing arts as music and theater. He played the trumpet and tuba in his high school band, was involved in his school's choir and took formal piano lessons. His early musical influences were rock musicians such as Elton John and Billy Joel, as well as the classic composers of musical theater, especially Stephen Sondheim and the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Larson was also considered a great actor in high school, performing in lead roles in various productions at White Plains High School.

Larson went to Adelphi University in Garden City, Long Island, with a four-year scholarship as an acting major. In addition to performing in numerous plays and musicals during college, he began composing music, first for small student productions and later the score to a musical entitled "Libro de Buen Amor" (Book of Good Love), written by the department head, Jacques Burdick, who functioned as Larson's mentor. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, he participated in a summer stock theater program in Augusta, Michigan, as a piano player, the result of which was the earning of an Equity Card for membership in the Actors' Equity Association.

Later Larson moved to a loft with no heat on the fifth floor of a building at the corner of Greenwich Street and Spring Street in Lower Manhattan. His own friends, who lived in a harsh situation too, always described his apartment as the worse of them all. Even so, every Christmas Larson threw a party for all his friends and work colleagues, where everybody brought something. After dinner, there was usually music or acting performances from Jonathan and his friends.

For about ten years he worked as a waiter at the Moondance Diner during weekends and worked on composing and writing musicals during the weekdays. At the diner Larson later met Jesse L. Martin, who was his waiting trainee and later would perform the role of Tom Collins in the original cast of Larson's Rent.

One Jonathan Larson's best musicals is Tick, Tick...BOOM!, where Larson writes about a waiter wanting to be a waiter, but unable to make any success. Some say it was almost an autobiography. During the performances of this musical, he met Stephen Sondheim, who later would help him produce Rent and whose name even is mentioned in the song 'La Vie Bohème' from Rent. Rent a worldwide known musical, which gained Larson the Pulitzer and the Tony award, is the rock adaption of Puccini's La Bohème.

On the night of the final rehearsal, one night before Rent's premiere Jonathan Larson suddenly died of an aneurysm from Marfan Syndrom. It was ten days before his 36th birthday. Jonathan Larson never got to see his masterpiece on Broadway.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: JFWeiss

Trivia (10)

Influences include Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) (Andrew Lloyd Webber), The Beatles, Prince (aka Rogers Nelson), The Police, and Stephen Sondheim.
Posthumously won two Tony Awards in 1996 for "Rent": as Best Book (Musical) and as Best Original Musical Score, both music and lyrics.
Biography in "American National Biography," Supplement 1, pp. 343-344. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Postumously won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the musical Rent (2005), which is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Bohème.".
At Adlelphi University, he was the college roommate of director/writer Todd Robinson.
One of Larson's many friends to die young of AIDS was Alison Gertz, whose story was dramatized in the TV movie Something to Live For: The Alison Gertz Story (1992) (TV). One of the attendees of the AIDS support group depicted in the theatrical and cinematic versions of Larson's musical "Rent" is named Ali in her honor. In Something to Live For, Gertz was played by Molly Ringwald, who went on to appear in Larson's off-Broadway musical "tick, tick...BOOM!".
His musical, "Rent" at the American Theater Company and About Face Theatres in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2012 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award or Musical Production (Midsize).
His musical, "Rent," at the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in Chicago, Illinois was awarded the 2016 Joseph Jefferson (Non-Equity) Award for Musical or Revue Production.
His musical, "Rent" in the Center Theatre Group production at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1997 Drama Logue Award for Production.
He was awarded the 1997 Back Stage Garland Award for Outstanding Musical Score for "Rent" in a Center Theatre Group production at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Personal Quotes (1)

With this work I celebrate my friends and the many others who continue to fulfill their dreams and to live their lives in the shadow of AIDS. In these dangerous times, where it seems the world is ripping apart at the seams, we can all learn how to survive from those who stare death squarely in the face every day, and we should reach out to each other and bond as a community, rather than hide from the terrors of life at the end of the millennium.

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