Original Rent-ers Anthony Rapp and Yassmin Alers are already set to star as an inner-city schoolteacher and his girlfriend in the new musical, Mister, but now they have two new castmates — two-time Tony Award nominee Joel Blum and "Sesame Street" star Carlo Alban.
Mister premieres at the Present Company Theatorium, in New York City, April 9-30 with Anthony King directing.
Blum was Tony-nominated for Show Boat and Steel Pier and most recently appeared on Broadway in The Music Man as Marcellus opposite Robert Sean Leonard. Alban did five seasons of "Sesame Street" before taking roles in "House of Buggin'," "OZ" and in References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot at the Public Theater.
In Mister, Yale graduate Jon (Rapp) comes naively into his first year of teaching by taking an assignment in an inner-city high school, where the brutal lives of his students shock him. His solace is Alissa (Alers), the older sister of one of his students, but their burgeoning relationship is threatened by a student's death, for which Jon is blamed. Playwright and screenwriter Tony Vellela (Admissions, The Evil of Two Lessers, "Test of Time") wrote the book and lyrics with the latin, jazz, rock and gospel-influenced music by composer pianist Misha Piatigorsky.
Rapp made his big Broadway splash as Mark in the original company of Rent, before taking the title role in the recent revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. As a child, he appeared as the sensitive son of Ed Harris in George Furth's Precious Sons, on Broadway. His film credits include "A Beautiful Mind," "Twister," "Dazed and Confused" and "Adventures in Babysitting." Alers understudied in the original Rent company, playing all the major female roles including Mimi. On Broadway, she also appeared in Capeman and The Rocky Horror Show.
Additional casting for the 14-actor show has not been announced. Bessie Award winner Adesola Osakalumi (Jam on the Groove) is the choreographer.
Tickets are $15. The Present Company Theatorium is located at 196-198 Stanton Street between Ridge and Attorney. For reservations, call (212) 420-8877.
— By Christine Ehren