NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This year marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking Broadway musical “Rent.”

After a sold-out run off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, “Rent” transferred to Broadway in April of 1996, where it was a big hit.

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The rock musical is set in the East Village during the HIV/AIDS crisis and tells the story of friends struggling to get by.

“Rent” reached new theater audiences with a message about love and tolerance.

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Actress Idina Menzel was 25 years old when she made her Broadway debut in the show.

“I think at its core, it’s about love and community and artistic integrity. Embracing every moment in our lives … is relevant at any time,” Menzel said.

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“Rent” was written by the late playwright and composer Jonathan Larson, who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. “Rent” won four Tony Awards in 1996, including Best Musical, and ran on Broadway for 12 years.

CBSNewYork Team