New York Theatre Workshop was the birthplace and workshop-ground of the Broadway phenomenon, Rent, so it's only fair that the mega-hit give something back. That's exactly what will happen March 3 when such stars as Richie Havens, Sarah Jessica Parker and other special guests will sing songs Jonathan Larson wrote before creating Rent, which was completed just prior to the young composer's death. In this benefit, titled, Today 4 U: Unsung Jonathan Larson, they will be backed by the Rent house band.
Already announced to join Havens and Parker (currently in Once Upon A Mattress) are Mary Chapin Carpenter and Marin Mazzie (Passion). Although the originally-scheduled Molly Ringwald has bowed out of the event, she will be replaced by Ben Stiller (filmdom's Reality Bites). Director Michael Greif and musical director Tim Weil will also take part in this evening of pre-Rent tunes, which, unfortunately, is not being recorded.
A downtown, non-profit theatre, NY Theatre Workshop has produced works by Tony Kushner, Teresa Rebeck, Athol Fugard and Claudia Shear. Recent productions have included Kushner's Slavs! and Douglas Wright's Quills.
Spokesperson Caren Bell (of Rogers & Cowan) told Playbill On-Line that stars are currently in the process of choosing the songs they'll perform at the benefit. For tickets ($60-$250) and information on Today 4 U, call NY Theatre Workshop at (212) 780-9037.
--By David Lefkowitz