My first encounter with Rent was actually quite negative, I was on the Les Miserables mailing list back in late 1996 and flamewars started breaking out from people arguing about this new show, those who thought it was amazing vs those who hated it. But then the Rent list at sonic was created and it all moved over there and I don't remember hearing too much more about it until I acquired a video with tv appearances and the OBC CD over the summer from a friend. Thought it was pretty good, decided to go see in December 1997, Angel cast Chicago, and was immediately hooked, it just totally blew me away! While I've kind of stalled out at the moment due to money and distance, I've been very lucky in the opportunities I've had to see the show and have seen the Angel, Benny, Collins, Canadian, and Broadway casts in multiple different cities (primarily Chicago of course) a grand total of 97.5 times. I'm a tour girl, favorite cast ever was the Chicago Angel cast but various Benny tour incarnations are pretty close runners up. Favorite Rent boys have included Jake Manabat, Matt Caplan, Justin Johnston, Enrico Rodriguez, Sebastian Arcelus, Cary Shields, Curtis Cregan, Joshua Kobak, etc.....
I'm a huge fan of Matt Caplan's music and am the original lyrics queen, though sadly I don't think I can rightly claim that title any longer as by the time I get to hear new songs now they're months and months old and have already been transcribed numerous times. :-( I've been lucky enough to attend four Matt/Joshua gigs, one while they were still on tour with Rent and three from the Swimming Sideways tour but have been gig deprived since August 2001. *sob*
As for other interests, I love tons of other shows and spend way too much money going to see them (says she who just got her bill with the charges for the Hairspray tour tickets :-P). I'm quite involved in the Harry Potter fandom, and am a big Ron/Hermione shipper as anyone on my friends list could attest to. ;-) Lord of the Rings ranks way up there too, less than two months to ROTK and Aragorn goodness, whoot!
And I will stop rambling on about myself now. :-)