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Still Playing The 'Rent'

When it first hit Broadway in 1996, Rent was described as an exhilarating landmark and a breakthrough musical.

These days, the Broadway production is still packing them in. Meanwhile, two North American companies and production companies in London, Japan, and Australia are wowing people around the world with Rent, reports CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras.

The Broadway cast dropped by the morning show to perform I'll Cover You, the emotional high point of Rent.

"It's really about enjoying the people you have in your life while they are here," says Wilson Cruz, who plays Angel. "And appreciating them and the love they bring to your life. It's about living in the momentÂ… and about the love you create in that life."

Assuras, noting that the show is loaded with high energy, asked how the cast gets stamina enough for eight performances a week.

"I do so much during the show that there are days when I'm so exhausted," says Cruz. "But you find the energy, and you really are there to serve that audience and to be there for them and to bring them their $80 worth."

Michael McElroy, who plays Tom Collins, credits the audiences as well as his fellow performers.

"[It's] the people you work with, and the music, and the energy from the audience," he explains.

Rent, inspired by the Puccini opera La Boheme, is a musical that celebrates a community of young artists as they struggle with tough realities.

The winner of four 1996 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Rent catapulted its author, Jonathan Larson, to fame, although he never knew it. Larson, who spent seven years creating Rent, died of an aortic aneurysm at age 35, just hours after the musical's final dress rehearsal.

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