This show tends to get a better reception that it really deserves because of who wrote it—when you’re a martyr who died far too young and the author of one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, no-one’s going to say anything really bad about your early-career teething errors. But I have to admit that when they dredged up this trunk show that Rent author Jonathan Larson had long since abandoned and performed it off-Broadway, I’m not sure they were doing him, or themselves, any favors. Actually, the show is most interesting from a critical perspective, watching as Larson gradually blossoms into the composer of Rent. Granted, the score is expectedly good. When it mines the same simple emotional honesty that Larson found in Rent, it provides several primal blasts of powerful music, including “Johnny Can’t Decide”, “Come To Your Senses”, “Why”, and “Louder Than Words”. These songs, along with fun items like the deliciously sexy “Green Green Dress” and a very clever parody of the first-act finale to Sunday In the Park With George set in a diner, make this a collectible score, but the show itself is dramatically immature and actually kind of insufferable. It bears some resemblance to the later <Title of Show>, but unlike that work, it takes itself far too seriously. It’s basically ninety minutes of a self-indulgent artist whining about his supposed hardships and acting self-important about his perceived integrity in refusing to grow up and live in the real world. In other words, it’s exactly what Rent is often unfairly accused of being. This is the kind of musical Mark and Roger would have written if they’d written one, whereas by the time he actually wrote Rent, Larson was starting to outgrow that phase, which is probably a good thing for all concerned.