It was back on January 25, 1996, when \u201cRent,\u201d a new musical by a virtually unknown writer, opened Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop. The landscape of theater changed forever. \u201cRent\u201d went on to Broadway, taking home the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and has enjoyed a long life in the theater, on film and even a live television special. Now, ACT of Connecticut will stage its own production of \u201cRent\u201d from May 26 through June 19, under the direction of Daniel C. Levine. Written and created by the late Jonathan Larson, the musical, loosely based on Puccini\u2019s \u201cLa Boh\u00e8me,\u201d tells the story of the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out, while creating a life in New York City\u2019s East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV\/AIDS. Levine saw the show with the original cast when he was an actor performing on Broadway and recalls being deeply impacted. \u201cWhen \u2018Rent\u2019 first opened on Broadway, I was performing in the Broadway production of \u2018Les Miserables,\u2019 and our entire company was invited to see one of the earlier previews,\u201d Levine said. \u201cWhile watching, I remember having the feeling that I was witnessing something very special and I was so very proud and honored to be a part of such a remarkable community of storytellers.\u201d Over the years, Levine worked with many of the original \u201cRent\u201d cast members and he loves listening to the stories about the rehearsal period from the people who were actually there in the room. For the ACT of CT production, Levine described \u201cRent\u201d as a \u201ctime capsule;\u201d a show which encompasses a period of time that it was written in and deals with subject matter specific to that decade and generation \u2014 though parallels certainly exist today. \u201cI think that attempting to \u2018set\u2019 the show in any other location or time period is a disservice to the piece,\u201d he said. \u201cI have stayed very true to the original production\u2019s intent. While I definitely put my own spin on the production, I was not interested in reconceiving the show. A wonderful detail of ACT of CT is our intimate space and turntable stage, and those who are familiar with the original production will definitely feel as though they are seeing a much more up close and personal production of the show.\u201d Levine added that although \u201cRent\u201d explores subject matter specific to the 1990\u2019s, it is hard not to see the similarities in today\u2019s world. \u201cWhile in rehearsals, I was reminded that the show\u2019s message remains incredibly relevant today,\u201d he said. \u201cRent is a timeless musical whose themes of love, loss and the value of community bridge generational gaps. The show emphasizes the importance of individuality, inclusion and acceptance.\u201d\u00a0 The show stars Ben Bogen as Mark, Paloma D\u2019Auria as Maureen, Gordia Hayes as Collins, Paola V. Hern\u00e1ndez as Mimi, Luis Herrera as Benny, Amber Hurst Martin as Joanne, Devin Price as Angel, Austin Turner as Roger, and will feature Joshua Bess, India Boone, Dalon Bradley, Nicolas Garza, Natalie Lilavois Yusty, Jade Litaker and Justin Phillips. For more information about ACT of CT or to purchase tickets, visit actofct.org.