Jonathan Larson (February 4th, 1960 – January 25th, 1996) was an American composer and playwright noted for exploring the serious social issues of Multiculturalism, addiction, and Homophobia in his work. Typical examples of his use of these themes are found in his works, RENT and tick, tick... BOOM!. He received three posthumous Tony Awards and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the rock musical RENT.
Larson died unexpectedly the morning of RENT's opening night Off-Broadway. Larson died of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, in the early morning on January 25, 1996. New York State medical investigators concluded that if the aortic dissection had been properly diagnosed and treated, Larson would have lived.He had been suffering chest pains and also had nausea for several days prior to his death, but doctors at St. Vincent's Hospital could not find signs of a heart attack and so misdiagnosed it either as flu or stress.
- One of Jonathan Larson's girlfriends dumped him for a girl the way Maureen dumped Mark for Joanne.
- The characters of Ali, Gordon, Pam, and Sue in the Life support meeting are named after Jonathan Larson's friends who died of AIDS.
- At the very end of the credits for the movie version of Rent, 'Thank you, Jonathan Larson' comes onto the screen. This could be seen as a reference to the showing of Rent after Jonathan Larson died. The entire cast elected to perform a run-through of just the songs to all of Jonathan's family and friends in tribute of Jonathan's most prestigious work. At the end of the performance, the entire audience sat silent for what seemed like forever until a young male voice in the back of the house yelled that line.