Jonathan Larson (February 4, 1960 – January 25, 1996) was an American composer and playwright noted for exploring the serious social issues of multiculturalism, addiction, and homophobia in his work. Typical examples of his use of these themes are found in his works, Rent and tick, tick... BOOM!. He received three posthumous Tony Awards and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the rock musical Rent.
Larson was born to Jewish parents, Allan and Nanette Larson, in White Plains, New York. He was exposed to the performing arts, especially music and theatre from an early age, as he played the trumpet, tuba, was involved in his school's choir, and took formal piano lessons. His early musical influences were his favorite rock musicians such as Elton John, The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, and Billy Joel, as well as the classic composers of musical theatre, especially Stephen Sondheim.