525,600 jokes

Twitter goes nuts over high school production of ‘RENT’ with this APPALLING twist

Scene from Broadway's "RENT"

Picture this…

A crowd of family, friends and faculty gathers for the opening night of a high school’s latest theatrical undertaking.

This year’s production? Jonathan Larson’s 1996 rock opera, Rent.

It’s a bold move for the 13-17 year-old set, for sure. But handled maturely by the school’s drama department, the approachable musical could prove quite the educational experience for students, shining a spotlight on some heavy, worthwhile issues — addiction, homophobia and AIDS among them.

Related: Straight guy goes on homophobic rant about ‘Sense8’ and the Internet shuts. It. Down.

Now imagine that same crowd beginning to pick up on something that seems… off.

Then it sinks in — this particular school (supposedly) decided to make one huge and unfortunate change: Instead of AIDS, some of the characters have diabetes.

Wait… what?

That’s the story financial writer Chelsea Fagan shared on Twitter, via an admittedly unreliable source — some random bartender:

Credibility aside, the brand new urban legend went viral, attracting the finest parody Twitter has to offer, such as:

But that was just the beginning:

Others pointed out these glaringly heinous plot-points pertaining to the switch:

And some had RENT horror stories of their own:

While one person was reminded of an equally ridiculous Hairspray experience:

And this… different take on Fame:

Then there was this unthinkable work-around for In the Heights:

And whatever this is supposed to mean:

What if the same AIDS/diabetes alteration was applied to Angels in America, you ask?

And… scene.


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    “Credibility aside, the brand new urban legend went viral…”

    Um, no, I think it’s really important to know if these things are true or not before reporting them. Too much of this shit

    • BigWill

      Also, bartender’s high school play, so story is at a minimum 3 years old. A little late for outrage.

  • Chris

    Has anyone bothered to fact check this story?

    • mujerado

      How do you fact-check what an unknown bartender said about a school the whereabouts of which are unknown? True or not, the story is at least plausible.

    • stevetalbert

      It doesn’t have to be true. Its like a cross between telephone game and pictionary but with scenarios. Everyone passes around a snark comment based on a scenario. Fun for all!! Start a twitter rumor about what if Trump were president.

  • QuestBear

    We also did the sanitized Fame. Montgomery McNeil won the “No-Ball” prize of the year award because he came out after having testicular cancer. It was the 90s in a small town in the south. That’s how the script came pre-edited for high schools. Hilarious.

  • Ummmm Yeah

    Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed and the rest of the internet going nuts and getting “shook” over a secondhand rumor is nothing new and isn’t news. It just proves there are a lot of stupid people being manipulated.

  • Gracie Mansion

    Slow news day, huh? “I heard a story from a bartender whose second cousin’s best friend’s dentist said he once attended a Yeshiva production of RENT where…” Puh-leeze. Passing this off as news — even funny news — is just an excuse to make something fake go viral. The danger in this is that when REAL news regarding the LGBTQ community happens, no one covers it. That’s what happens to the little boy who cries “Diabetes!”

  • Silent_Joe

    I understand that in some cases when a school does a production of a play they sometimes have to clean things up. When my high school did The Odd Couple, they removed all the swearing, Oscar drank soda instead of beer, and his cigar smoking was replaced with gum chewing (I still have qualms about it, but I understand why). But when you feel you need to change what is a pivotal part of the story, maybe you should do a different play instead.

  • NateOcean

    Acute Insulin Dependent Syndrome?

  • larrytopping

    I lost 26 of my friends, deaths due to AIDS, btwn 1982 and 1994. During that time, I juggled my hospice work and pallbearer duties w/ care & Tx and outreach & prevention. I remember, when we’d counsel, we often said that being HIV+ shouldn’t be any different than being diabetic … this helped to normalize the illness and remove the sting of stigma. I’d like to believe that these HS kids and their drama teacher were making the same point, showing how ridiculous it would be to be hostel and hateful toward people living w/ diabetes, the contrast being illustrative of the equal absurdity to behave the same way towards PLWA. I think it’s a HUGE leap to a conclusion to ASSUME that they changed the name of the illness because “they couldn’t say AIDS” … and, then, peddle that BS around the Internet to hype some phony assault on PLWA, just for the ‘thrill’ of controversy.

    • ShowMeGuy

      Yeah, keep dreaming of that perfect world.

  • DCguy

    This seems like a knock off from something the Cheerleading coach said years ago on Glee, talking about the singers performance.

    “That was the most offensive thing I’ve seen in twenty years of teaching. And that includes an elementary school production of Hair.”

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  • StupidBoy

    Did it make it more watchable?

    I’m sorry, I’ve had friends die of AIDS–some of them I dream that they are still alive and I can talk to them–but personally, I found Rent boring. I watched it once online and fell asleep 1/2 an hour in and woke up in time for the final song.

    Now, a high-school production of Jeebus Chriss Wonder Sun or Coif (or is it Mane?) I could watch.

  • crazycatman

    Why do high schools do shows where the material could be deemed inappropriate. I can’t wait to see what Music Theatre International does with this. Are they going to take it to the national scandal level like they did when the theatre professor at Towson University thought she was a better writer than Jonathan Larson and changed the ending so that Mimi did die. MTI sent them an order to restore the show to the original ending or cease and desist.

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