A person stormed out of a performance of Rent in England last week after realizing the musical was about the LGBTQ+ community.
According to a post by theatre company Bite My Thumb, the offended audience member left the March 12 matinee performance of Jonathan Larson’s musical at The Carriageworks Theatre immediately after the song “Today 4 U.”
“After a storming performance of 'Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me,' a single audience member, picked up their coat, rose from their chair, and left the auditorium,” Bite My Thumb said in a statement posted to social media. “On exiting the individual turned to a member of the front of the house team and declared 'I didn’t realize this show was about gays.'”
The abrupt and homophobic exit “utterly disgusted” the cast and crew of the production.
“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,” the statement continued.
Rather than let the rude and homophobic behavior of one person ruin a performance, Bite My Thumb is using the experience to make a difference for the LGBTQ+ community in honor of that fleeing patron.
“In a bid to take a single individual’s hate and create something positive from it, Bite My Thumb will be donating a percentage of that performance’s box office to an LGBTQ+ charity that will be decided upon by our cast,” Bite My Thumb continued.
Not everyone was dissatisfied with Bite My Thumb’s production of Rent. A guest from the previous day found the performance “incredible” and said they could not wait to see it again.
Bite My Thumb closed their statement by thanking the “close-minded, outdate person” for their “appalling attitude” which has resulted in the funding of an LGBTQ+ charity in their honor.
“Hate is always foolish and love is always wise,” they concluded.
The song “Today 4 U” is sung primarily by the character Angel Dumott Schunard and tells the story of how Angel killed a dog and met the character Tom Collins.