Jonathan Larson Essay, Research Paper
January 21. The time is around 6:45 pm.? Writer, composer Jonathan
Larson was sitting in the very last few rows listening as cast he had chosen for
his “about to be” Broadway musical, “Rent” went through one of the final dress
rehearsals in The New York Theater Workshop. He and the Director of “Rent”
Michael Grief began to sing one of the songs form the show when Larson began to
feel a pain in his chest. The pain worsened. Larson (being the compulsive
worrier and hypochondriac close friends and relatives knew him as) turned to an
actor and said,”You better call 911. Think I’m having a heart attack.”
Lagon was rushed to the Emergency Room of New York’s Cabrini Medical
Center. There, doctors gave him an ECG which showed evidence of no heart
problems or anything else for that matter. Symptoms included pale and clammy
skin shortness of breath.? Larson’s best friend, Jonathan Burkhart noted,
“You’ve breath as hard as he was breathing.” After a few more test were done,
Larson was Diagnosed with food poisoning. The doctor then proceeded to pump his
stomach and send him home with a prescription for Toradol, a potent painkiller,
January 22.? Morning. Jonathan Larson telephones Cabrini Medical to
query the results of the tests taken the previous evening for food poisoning.
The employee on the other end of the line claimed no results could be found but
tried to assure Larson that if any thing serious had been found he would have
been notified immediately. The rest of the day, Larson spent being nursed by
Evening.? Brian Carmody found his roommate in bed, short of breath and
mumbling in a low voice. The only food he could seemingly stomach was Jell-O and
some tapioca pudding.
January 23. Afternoon. Jonathan called his father in Albuquerque
complaining of chest and lower back pains and a small degree temperature. His
father felt it was nothing serious.
Evening. His condition worsens. The chest pains are again excruciating.
He decides to return to the hospital. Carmody again a member of the staff says
the hospital could not attain the records form Larson’s visit two days earlier.
Instead, he is taken by way of cab to St. Vincent’s, a closer hospital. When he
arrived, Larson rated his pain as being seven out of a possible 10.? A nurse
classified his case as “urgent”.
After some examination, he was told this was no more than a virus (due
to flu-like symptoms) and it would pass.
January 25. It has been a long, hard, nerve-racking day for Larson. He
has just returned to his downtown Manhattan apartment on Greenwich Avenue from
the final dress rehearsal before the preview of his On-Broadway musical “Rent”.
Perhaps he was trying to relax with some nice, hot tea, or perhaps it was just
to heat up some remedy he had picked up from a stage hand in passing through the
cloud of hectic activity which consumed him that day. Larson collapsed there, in
front of the stove that day, dead, and was later discovered by Mr. Carmody.?
Dead. After six years of obsessive toil and obscurity, dead. One night before
his life’s dream was to be born into reality. Dead. Before he could witness the
utter awe of the sold out audience to the opening night preview! Dead. Before he
could see with his eyes what he had watched in his head a million times already.
And what was the final cause of death you might ask? Was it a deadly
infection of ecoli? Possibly? a rare virus ?? Or mabey a combination of the two.
Like a virus introduced to him through food poisoning. The answer is no. An
undeniable no at that. The actual cause of death, aortic aneurysm (a foot long
tear in his aorta).
New York State Health Commissioner? stated that it could have been
treated with` a surgery which had a survival rate of 80%.
Ironies like these plagued and enchanted Larson’s life, almost as if
they were part of a great big story the outcome of which, if one could have only
read it, could have been easily guessed.