Oh man, back in the day. (I'm an old.) I was at two shows of Benny Tour's Chicago stop back in 2003: The last midwest stop for Benny tour. Wow. Amazing. I caught up with them one last time in SF, but not for actual closing. Saw it several times on Broadway in later years because I was sorta friends with Tonya Dixon (Joanne), had friends in common with Tim Howar (Roger), and was a huge fan of Telly Leung (Angel cover/Gordon). Last time I saw the show (because I was a moron who missed my regional) was closing Broadway cast - oh, Will Chase, I love you, but Timmy seemed more age appropriate for Roger and I think you're the same age. But hey, yay Adam Kantor, finally a Mark who looks Jewish!
Benny and Joanne were always my favourites, though.
It's a great adaptation of La Bohème, and I"m not sure I've ever see the show without crying at Angel's death, but my favourite characters were always, even in high school (it came out when I was in high school, because I'm an old), the people who were striving for real rather than angsting or living off other people's money. Benny and Joanne worked hard, they reaped the benefits, while Mark had to get schooled by a homeless lady about his privilege and didn't get it. I also, looking back, love that the successful people are two of the three black characters. I love that Joanne's family is high-achieving and black.
It's not a great show, IMO, but it's a very good show, an excellent adaptation of La Bohème, a beautiful period piece, and I will always have some affection for it. But it wasn't the overwhelming, life changing show for me that it was for so many people. I still saw it a lot, and watched as the fandom got "younger" - the fandom, the whole time that show was on Broadway, stayed the same age. It was amazing. A little odd, when I'm there as a person with a masters degree and a real job, that everyone around me for the most part is 19, but amazing because it was such a period piece by then and it still produced such a visceral reaction from a generation that didn't have to give a damn about Newt Gingrich. Other than one particular creepy chick (no, you don't get to kiss Roger just because it's your birthday), it was awesome watching a younger generation have such a connection to the material and the actors.
(that said, the remix in London was shit - anything that reads the voicemails completely earnestly has no idea what it's doing - and the original show was perhaps worse. We are so lucky that aneurysm did not happen earlier, otherwise this would have gone nowhere. The workshop was bad, full stop. The guy who wrote a parody of Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George is far more clever than the guy who wrote Right Brain - the original form of One Song Glory. And we'd never have had some nice productions of tick tick boom! without the success of Rent.)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard