With Diggs' Arrival, Original Rent-ers Take New Lease on Broadway

News   With Diggs' Arrival, Original Rent-ers Take New Lease on Broadway Much of the action in the long-running rock musical Rent takes place between Christmas and New Year's Eve. This holiday season, more than half of the original leading players who owe their stardom to the Jonathan Larson show are holding an informal reunion in Manhattan's theatre district.
Top Row: Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adam Pascal, Middle: Anthony Rapp, Bottom Row: Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs
Top Row: Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adam Pascal, Middle: Anthony Rapp, Bottom Row: Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs, the first Benny in Rent, was recently announced as a temporary replacement for the ailing Norbert Leo Butz in Wicked. He will join the show from Dec. 25 to Jan. 18, 2004, allowing him to spend the holidays with Idina Menzel, his wife and Rent's original Maureen. Menzel plays future Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, in the Stephen Schwartz musical. Meanwhile Adam Pascal, who created the role of rocker Roger, is currently playing the Emcee in Broadway's Cabaret, which will close at Studio 54 on Jan. 4; Daphne Rubin-Vega, Roger's love Mimi, is now Jimmy Smits' love in Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics, at the Royale Theatre. And not far away is their erstwhile castmate, Anthony Rapp, who played Mark and is now acting Off-Broadway in Oren Safdie's critical hit, Private Jokes, Public Places.

Missing from Gotham stages are only Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who played Angel, Jesse L. Martin (Collins) and Fredi Walker (Joanne). Martin has been a regular on "Law & Order" for several seasons. At last report, Walker, who married and relocated to Barbados in the late '90s, was playing Rafiki in the national tour of The Lion King.

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