Given that it's one of the most iconic and award-winning musicals of all time and has been around for almost 30 years, most people are well aware that the musical Rent is about LGBTQ people and themes. Even if you know nothing else about the show, you probably know that, right?
Well count one British theatregoer among those who haven't been up on their musicals over the past few decades.
Upon realizing the show is "about gays" while attending a production at the Carriagework Theatre in Leeds, UK over the weekend, the patron stood up in the midst of the performance and stormed out of the theater, berating the front-of-the-house staff on their way.
The show's production company, Bite My Thumb, posted a blistering response to the patron on Twitter that has people cheering. See the tweet below.
A statement from us about a horrible incident during our matinee performance at @carriageworks_pic.twitter.com/WZeTJFvOPp— Bite My Thumb (@Bite My Thumb) 1647175606
Bite My Thumb wrote:
“...[A] single audience member picked up their coat, rose from their chair and left the auditorium. On exiting the individual turned to a member of the front of house team and declared ‘I DIDN’T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT GAYS’."
“All the cast, creatives and backstage crew of the production were utterly disgusted to hear about this display of small minded ignorance."
"As a theatre company, we purposely chose Rent to give a voice to the LGBTQ+ community and educate on the horrors of the AIDS epidemic.”
Rent is a retelling of the 19th-century Puccini opera La Bohème that focuses on a group of seven 20-somethings struggling on New York City's Lower East Side during the 1990s while the HIV/AIDS epidemic was still running rampant. Four of the show's seven principal characters are LGBTQ, and given the times, they are also HIV-positive.
In the spirit of the show and a bid to turn the homophobic patron's bigotry into a positive, Bite My Thumb announced that it would donate a portion of that performance's profits to an LGBTQ+ organization, and thanked the patron for inspiring the move.
“So thank you to that close minded, out-dated person. Your appalling attitude now means an underfunded LGBTQ+ organisation will receive a donation it so desperately needs and will put to good use."
On Twitter, Bite My Thumb's response--and had a field day mocking the patron.
Sorry, but we\u2019re they excited to see a musical about paying rent?https://twitter.com/bitethumb/status/1502989545574440965\u00a0\u2026— Macy Rodman (@Macy Rodman) 1647361843
Boy, are they in for a shock when they go to see Cats - "I DIDN'T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT CATS", Hamilton - "I DIDN'T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT HAMILTON", or The Rocky Horror - "I DIDN'T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT A SWEET TRANSVESTITE FROM TRANSSEXUAL TRANSYLVANIA"— Murad (@Murad) 1647258668
Homophobia has no place in theatre\n\n~However~\n\nIf staged...\nFunniest bit of all timehttps://twitter.com/bitethumb/status/1502989545574440965\u00a0\u2026— Jay Jurden. Just Jokes. 3/18/22 (@Jay Jurden. Just Jokes. 3/18/22) 1647321867
I don\u2019t feel sorry for anyone who is old enough to buy tickets to an event who can\u2019t Google said event and see literally multiple decades of writing about said event. The bottom line, this person knew exactly what they were doing.— InfrastructureIsJobs JustWatchingtheFoolishness (@InfrastructureIsJobs JustWatchingtheFoolishness) 1647264391
The concept of someone going to a musical and getting upset at seeing anything gay is absolutely hilarious to mehttps://twitter.com/bitethumb/status/1502989545574440965\u00a0\u2026— Donavan (Cripp Daddy\u267f\u2122\ufe0f) (@Donavan (Cripp Daddy\u267f\u2122\ufe0f)) 1647315485
Well the person that walked out missed some cracking tunes. Thanks to the cast and crew for this action and sorry this happened in 2022.— John (@John) 1647217373
How upsetting for the audience, stage and crew. But well done and so pleased that you took this and turned it into something positive that will help and support lives. Hats off to you!!! Enjoy the rest of the performances Xx— SiBurman (@SiBurman) 1647248116
The musical is only 26 years old. How could this audience member have had any idea what it was about?— Geoffrey (@Geoffrey) 1647263631
Hopefully this person learns to Google things before buying their tickets in the future. Or, you know, just stop being a bigot.