1,670 times they've refused to pay rent. Jonathan Larson's rock musical, Rent turns four years old April 29 at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre.
Making their way into this fourth anniversary cast are Loraine Velez as Mimi, Andy Senor as Angel and Stu James as Benny. Making his Broadway debut, Senor played Angel in London, Los Angeles and the national tour of Rent.
They join current Rent cast Maggie Benjamin, Rufus Bonds, Jr. (Tom Collins), Aisha de Haas, Cristina Fadale (Maureen), Danielle Lee Greaves (Joann), Owen Johnston II, Darryl Ordell, Manley Pope (Roger), Jim Poulos (Mark), Chad Richardson, Byron Utley (who appeared with the original cast) and Kim Varhola.
Poulous, who replaced original cast member Anthony Rapp, will leave Rent on May 21. Trey Ellet, a veteran of Rent's national tour, will replace him.
One wonders what Poulous will do next as Rent has been a springboard for many a Broadway career. Aida has four former cast members: leads Adam Pascal and Sherie Rene Scott, as well as Schele Williams and Damian Perkins; Kiss Me, Kate's Amy Spanger starred as Maureen in the Rent national tour; both Wild Partys had former Rent party-goers: Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel in Manhattan Theatre Club's and Michael McElroy in the Public Theatre's. And Footloose and Saturday Night Fever feature alums Jeremy Kushnier and Richard Blake and Kris Cusick. But nothing compares to the current Jesus Christ Superstar, which boasts seven ex-Renters: Tony Vincent (Judas), Maya Days (Mary Magdalene), Rodney Hicks (Peter), Shayna Steele, David St. Louis, D'Monroe and Michael Lee (Simon Zealotes).
Rent opened on Broadway April 29, 1996 after a wildly successful run at New York Theatre Workshop. Despite suffering the loss of composer Larson before the first performance at NYTW, Rent became a phenomenon, winning the Tony Award for Best musical and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Set among the 20-something denizens of the Lower East Side, Rent chronicles the lives of modern bohemians, AIDS inflicted rock singer Roger, the woman he loves, Mimi and his roommate, the filmmaker Mark. Rent is based on Puccini's beloved opera, La Boheme.
Two special student matinees will be held around the anniversary -- April 27 and May 4. Among the schools participating will be Jonathan Larson's alma mater, White Plains High School.
These matinees bring school kids and the Broadway performers together to discuss the show, perform specially written scenes and monologues and for a lesson in singing. Cast members teach the students how to sing songs from the show in four part harmony.