By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS)“525,600 minutes
“525,000 moments so dear.
“525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?
“In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
“In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
“In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?”

You of course know those words from the song “Seasons of Love” from Jonathan Larson’s classic “Rent.” They may seem extra-poignant given that as we noted Monday, it has been well over 525,600 minutes since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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But now, Broadway in Chicago is back for the first time since the grip of the pandemic shut it down in March 2020.

On Tuesday, the theatre at 18 W. Monroe St. – operated by Broadway in Chicago and formerly known as the Majestic Theatre and the Shubert Theatre – was filled with an audience. And what should be onstage but the 25th anniversary farewell tour of “Rent”. The production opened on Tuesday night.

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The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rent” first opened on Broadway in New York in 1996. The musical, inspired by the Puccini opera “La Bohème,” follows a year in the lives of a diverse group of struggling young artists who are looking to follow their dreams and just to survive in a less-gentrified iteration of Manhattan’s East Village – with the omnipresent worries about HIV/AIDS hanging over them.

The touring cast features Cody Jenkins as Mark Cohen, Coleman Cummings as Roger Davis, Aiyana Smash as Mimi Marquez, Shafiq Hicks as Tom Collins, Javon King as Angel Dumott Schunard, Lyndie Moe as Maureen Johnson, Rayla Garske as Joanne Jefferson, and Jarred Bedgood as Benjamin Coffin III.

Everyone must wear a mask at all times during the show. All audience members must also show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

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“Rent” runs through the weekend.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff