Backstage Pass

PHOTOS: Rent is Back. Ready to Meet the Cast?

MJ Rodriguez, Nicholas Christopher, Adam Chanler-Berat, Matt Shingledecker, and Ephraim Sykes
MJ Rodriguez, Nicholas Christopher, Adam Chanler-Berat, Matt Shingledecker, and Ephraim Sykes

There’s a new trend in New York theater:  Close a show on Broadway and move it to an off-Broadway venue.  New World Stages recently resurrected Avenue Q and The 39 Steps.  Now they’re bringing back Rent, and the cast is hot, young and extremely talented.  Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning musical has been in previews since July 14 and ready to make it’s big fat comeback on August 11.

GayCities/Queerty photoblogger Jeffrey James Keyes snuck into the theater and took a few pictures of the new cast, which includes Annaleigh Ashford (Maureen), Margot Bringham (Alexi Darling, Roger’s Mom), Adam Chanler-Berat (Mark), Nicholas Christopher (Collins), Arianda Fernandez (Mimi), Marcus Paul James (Mr. Jefferson, Paul), Tamika Sonja Lawrence (Mrs. Jefferson), Matt Shingledeker (Roger), Ephraim Sykes (Benny), Ben Thompson (Christmas caroler, Mr. Grey), Michael Wartella (Steve, Gordon), and Morgan Weed (Mark’s Mom).

Michael Greif, who directed the original production, leads this adorable cast through the musical story about a group of Bohemians struggling with life, love and AIDS in the East Village of the 1980s. Don’t lie, you know all the words.

Are you a Renthead or just have a Rent story to share? Tell us in the comments!

 

Photos by Jeffrey James Keyes

MJ Rodriguez and NIcholas Christopher
MJ Rodriguez and NIcholas Christopher
Matt Shingledecker and Arianda Fernandez
Matt Shingledecker and Arianda Fernandez
Annaleigh Ashford
Annaleigh Ashford
Tamika Sonja Lawrence
Tamika Sonja Lawrence
MJ Rodriguez
MJ Rodriguez
Ephraim Sykes
Ephraim Sykes
Annaleigh Ashford, Adam Chanler-Berat, Mike Wartella, MJ Rodriguez, and Morgan Weed
Annaleigh Ashford, Adam Chanler-Berat, Mike Wartella, MJ Rodriguez, and Morgan Weed

 

Cast of RENT
Cast of RENT

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

  • Gray

    I fell in love with Rent long before I ever saw it. Growing up in North Dakota, I had a choir friend in high school who’d taken a trip to NYC with his family and saw it a couple of years after it opened. When he came back and told us about it, he was so excited he nearly wet himself…

  • EdWoody

    “Shingledecker” ? Yikes, that’s an unfortunate name.

    Still never saw this. Does that mean I have to hand in my gay card?

  • REBELComx

    @EdWoody: Hardly. This show is so over hyped it’s ridiculous and almost completely outdated now. But that didn’t stop me from hating it when it first came out. I’d rather see the opera it’s somewhat based on. And don’t even get me started on the movie… ugh. Some shows stay relevant or become relevant again with the change in society. This may have struck a chord with some people when it first came out, but it’s not there anymore. Avenue Q, sure. HAIR, Oh yeah. But you couldn’t pay me enough to see this self-righteous, depressing, boring pile of crap.

  • Gray

    @EdWoody: Only if I have to turn mine in for never having seen Queer as Folk.

    @REBELComx: To each his own. I’ll always love it, relevant or not.

  • Allen D.

    I bought the cast album long before I totally understood what it was about. 2 songs into it my friend offered to buy it off me for $2. I considered it. But, over time, I came to love it. It’s pretty much fantastic. And not really depressing. It ends on a high note.

  • Chadboy

    They might be talented but I think the word “hot” is a bit of a stretch unless you are referring to how they felt in the humidity we have been having in NYC.

  • Matt

    I saw this new production in previews last week. If you are any bit a fan of the original RENT I urge you to NOT GO! I left at intermission because I couldn’t stand it anymore. Of the many issues I had the worst had to be the costume change for Angel. Gone is the fun and sassy Santa costume. It’s been replaced with tight pants, a ruffled vest and a chiffon cape. Yes you heard correctly…a cape. Instead of seeing this big ‘ol mess just grab the live on broadway DVD.

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