The principal cast is composed of Jason Gotay as Angel Schunard, Andy Mientus (of the Spring Awakening tour, and a Performance Award winner for the New York Musical Festival production Shine!) as Mark Cohen, Fabio Monteiro as Roger Davis, Halle Morse (Broadway's Mamma Mia!) as Mimi Marquez, Rachel Moulton as Maureen Johnson, Adrienne Muller (national tour of The Lion King) as Joanne Jefferson, Nik Walker as Tom Collins and Gregory L. Williams (national tour of LCT's South Pacific) as Benjamin Coffin III.
The rock opera about lovers, friends and artists in the age of AIDS has book, music and lyrics by the late Larson, who borrowed plot elements from the opera La Boheme to create his award-winning smash. Rent won the Tony Award as Best Musical and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. (Separate from this resident Utah production, the show's original Broadway producers are reviving the show in New York City starting this summer, returning the work to its Off-Broadway birthplace.) The Pioneer cast also includes ensemble members Stephanie Chace Bass, Ginger Bess, Ariana Escalante, David Holmes, Eric Jackson, Ivory McKay, Latoya Rhodes and Daniel T. Simons.
In between rehearsals, director Azenberg told Playbill.com, "I realized just how much Rent has changed the theatrical landscape at our auditions. In 1996, when Rent first opened, casting the show was a real challenge; musical theatre performers were not comfortable with this rock-based musical style. Now, it's practically a requirement and I have reaped the benefits 15 years later with a cast of singers, actors and dancers who have all trained to do this style of musical theatre — and they are extraordinary."
In New York City, director-choreographer Azenberg directed Blocks (an early work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson), as well as The Soup Comes Last by Rachel Lampert at 59E59 Theatre, among others. Azenberg is current president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She returns to PTC after choreographing the record-breaking musical Les Misérables there, as well as choreographing and directing Miss Saigon. In the fall, she will direct and choreograph Next to Normal for PTC.
Helen Gregory is musical director of PTC's Rent. Musical arrangements are by Steve Skinner. Original concept/additional lyrics credit goes to Billy Aronson. Musical supervision and additional arrangements are by Tim Weil. The dramaturg is Lynn Thomson. The creative team includes PTC resident set designer George Maxwell; costume designer Brenda Van Der Wiel; lighting designer Michael Gilliam; hair and makeup designer Amanda French (PTC resident designer); PTC resident sound designer Matthew Tibbs.
PTC, in Salt Lake City, UT, performs at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South 1400 East. For information, visit www.pioneertheatre.org.