In honor of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Nederlander’s current tenant, Disaster!, took advantage of its star-studded cast and connections to bring old co-stars together for a slew of nostalgia performances. Disaster! star Kerry Butler reunited with her Xanadu scene partner, Cheyenne Jackson, and Laura Osnes came back to sing with her former Danny from Grease, Max Crumm. But one performance took the throwback to the next level. Disaster! star and Rent frontman, Adam Pascal, reunited with his original Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, on the stage they first appeared on together when Rent debuted in 1996.
On April 14 at the annual Marfan Foundation gala, this year honoring Jonathan Larson upon the 20th anniversary of Rent, Rubin-Vega was in attendance and told Playbill.com about the time warp experience. “It’s never with a bang, it’s with a whimper,” she said of returning to the Nederlander. “You go in there and it’s the same but different. It’s very quiet walking through the halls. Almost feeling anonymous again.
“You know what, it was just like being a kid: coming back and everything seems smaller. Going from NYTW to the Nederlander was like, ‘Wow. Oh my God, this is huge.’ And now going back to the Nederlander it’s like, ‘This is small.’”
Looking back 20 years, Rubin-Vega reflects on the journey that was Rent. “The NYTW for me is the ROOM. That third-floor walkup, that’s the room where it began,” she said. “But these venues, these places, these people, these spaces, they’re all part of a genesis of something that was home, and [being back] felt very good.”