Original Cast of Rent Will Reunite for 10th Anniversary Benefit Concert in April 2006

News   Original Cast of Rent Will Reunite for 10th Anniversary Benefit Concert in April 2006
 
The original cast of the Tony Award-winning musical Rent will reunite at the Nederlander Theatre for a benefit concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking work.
Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega in the original Broadway production of Rent
Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega in the original Broadway production of Rent Photo by Joan Marcus

The Monday night performance — April 24, 2006 — comes five days before the official 10-year anniversary of the Broadway opening of the show, which is Saturday April 29. The benefit will be directed by original director Michael Greif and music directed by music supervisor Tim Weil, and will benefit three organizations associated with late lyricist-librettist-composer Jonathan Larson: Friends In Deed (which supports those facing illness), The New York Theatre Workshop (the Off-Broadway not-for-profit where Rent was launched) and The Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation (created in Larson's memory to encourage writers of musical theatre).

"These are organizations that are about community and sharing," JLPAF executive director Nancy Kassak Diekmann said.

The benefit concert tickets begin at $1,000 each, with a range of higher prices for groups and tables being worked out.

Larson died of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm the day before his show was to start Off-Broadway. He was 35 and did not live to see the work win the 1996 Pulitzer Prize, the 1996 Best Musical Tony Award and Tonys for Best Book and Best Score.

True to the commercial history of the production, a plan is being developed to set aside low-priced seats in the first two rows of the theatre. A plan that is "manageable and reasonable" will be announced in the future, Diekmann told Playbill.com. That plan would likely not be the standard lottery system where fans inquire at the box office on the same day of the performance; the benefit organizers hope to avoid the scene in which Rent mavens sleep on the street in the days leading up to the event. Diekmann said there is a hope that the original band will play the concert performance, as well. For now, the opening night company has agreed to appear, and the show is being presented with the participation of the musical's producers. A gala party will follow the performance.

The original cast of the La Boheme-inspired rock musical, set in Manhattan's East Village in the last days of the 20th century, includes Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Anthony Rapp, Fredi Walker, Gilles Chiasson, Rodney Hicks, Kristen Lee Kelly, Aiko Nakasone, Timothy Britten Parker, Gwen Stewart and Byron Utley.

For more information, visit www.jlpaf.org, www.nytw.org or www.friendsindeed.org. The New York Theatre Workshop website is expected to have a link about how to receive an invitation.

Playbill.com will continue to follow the developing plan for the benefit, which is expected to be one of the most talked-about events of the 2005-06 Broadway season.

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The Sony Pictures movie version of "Rent" will open Nov. 11, 2005.

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