Jonathan Larson was born to Allan and Nanette Larson in Mount Vernon, New York, on February 4, 1960. A talented actor and musician, he was offered a full scholarship to Adelphi University on Long Island, where he met his idol (and later mentor) Stephen Sondheim. After graduating, he moved to the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan and, over a period of 12 years, wrote many plays and musicals, including the off-Broadway hit "Tick...tick...BOOM!" It wasn't until 1994, however, that he began work on what would be known as Rent. Finished in 1995, the musical was set to go into previews off-Broadway in early 1996. However, the night of the final dress rehearsal, Jonathan died of an aortic dissection as a result of later-to-be-known Marfan's syndrome.