The original cast of Rent reunites June 4 at Studio 54, gathering to perform highlights from the rock opera in a benefit for the New York Theatre Workshop — the place where it all started five years ago.
Gilles Chiason, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rodney Hicks, Kristen Lee Kelly, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Aiko Nakasone, Timothy Britten Parker, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Gwen Stewart, Byron Utley, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Fredi Walker-Browne will convene upon the stage and perform most of the major selections from the late Jonathan Larson musical, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Musical and still runs at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre. The night will also include other Larson songs, according to NYTW representatives.
The original Rent understudies Yassmin Alers and Shelley Dickinson as well as the Rent band will join in the performance directed by Michael Greif. Musical direction and arrangements are by Tim Weil, lighting design is by Blake Burba and sound design is by Brian Ronan.
Proceeds from the benefit will go to NYTW and its new Jonathan Larson Lab space at NYTW, which, as artistic director James C. Nicola says in a released statement, "will be specifically designed to give theatre artists a home to develop new work."
Another Larson work, tick, tick...BOOM!, will play in New York at the Jane Street Theatre. The production starring Raul Esparza, Amy Spanger and Jerry Dixon will begin performances May 23 and open June 13. Scott Schwartz (Bat Boy) directs with script consultation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn (Proof). Tickets are available for $50-$1,000 for the Studio 54 event. To inquire about tickets or for further information, call NYTW at (212) 780-9037.