Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent, never lived to see the debut of his musical. The composer and playwright died suddenly of aortic dissection the night before the play's Off-Broadway premiere in 1996.
However, Rent — whose story celebrates LGBTQ people, artists, and outsiders — would go on to be a Broadway hit and ultimately win Larson a slew of Tony Awards and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.
In a new video, the cast of Rent: Live! — Fox's upcoming live musical production — reflects on the legacy of Larson and his production, which went on to change the world.
"Jonathan Larson never got to see this play, so there's some sort of responsibility that I feel to tell this story in the times of today through these amazing characters and struggling artists," said RuPaul's Drag Race's Valentina, who portrays Angel.
"It's a legacy that Jonathan Larson created and unfortunately never got to see. But I think he's seeing it somewhere," said Brennin Hunt, who portrays Roger. "It really is an incredible piece of work and I'm very honored to be a part of it."
"The thing that I wish he could see now is how many lives were impacted," said Jordan Fisher, who portrays Mark, adding, "This was a dream of his and it became something so special and moved generations — and will for years to come."
Rent, a Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, follows seven artists — several of them queer — in the late 20th century in New York City's East Village. The play's storylines, which address topics like AIDS, homophobia, homelessness, and drug addiction, marked a watershed moment in the entertainment industry.
Fox's upcoming Rent: Live!, which will air January 27, stars Fisher, Hunt, Tinashe, Brandon Victor Dixon, Valentina, Vanessa Hudgens, Kiersey Clemons, and Mario. The Greatest Showman's Keala Settle will be the soloist on "Seasons of Love."
Watch the tribute to Larson below.