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Exclusive! Daphne Rubin-Vega on Reunification with Original Stars and How The Telecast Was Like Black Mirror Broadway Buzz



Idina Menzel shared this brunch photo with co-stars Aiko Nakasone, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adam Pascal, Rodney Hicks, Wilson Jermaine Heredia & Timothy Britten Parker (Photo: Instagram)

The Fox airing of Rent: Live not actually been actually live musical event fans were promised, after lead Brennin Hunt broke his foot the night before broadcast and producers were forced to air footage of the dress rehearsal, but it did wind up being a thrilling reunion of most of the original 1

996 Broadway cast, a well-kept secret that was revealed just hours before the show.

"Cat got out of the bag," Daphne Rubin-Vega, the musical's iconic first Mimi told Broadway.com. Rubin-Vega reunited with original cast members Gilles Chiasson, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rodney Hicks, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Aiko Nakasone, Timothy Britten Parker, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Byron Utley and Fredi Walker-Browne for the show's final minutes, a rousing "Seasons of Love" that gave the broadcast a moving final. (Original "Seasons of Love" soloist Gwen Stewart was also on hand offstage, but didn't perform.) "Twenty-three years ago, we were laughing about the possibility of last night happening," Rubin-Vega shared. "Being broken down, having back issues, bad knees … going up in our walkers and singing" Seasons of Love. "And then it actually happened!" Rubin-Vega was nominated for a Tony Award for Rent in 1996 and the play Anna in the Tropics in 2004. Her other Broadway credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Les Miserables and A Streetcar Named Desire . Empanada Loca

Fredi Walker-Browne, Idina Menzel & Daphne Rubin -Vega (Photo: Kevin Estrada / FOX)

"I got to sit with Rosario and we watched Tinashe play Mimi together," Rubin-Vega said. After a weekend of meals together and sharing laughs about their time in Rent (Rubin-Vega revealed both she and Menzel still have nightmares about having the show with a minute's notice), the original stars watched the Fox airing together in a green room on the fox lot. Joining them was Rosario Dawson, who played Mimi in the 2005 film version.

“We were singing" Light My Candle "together and everything. We were full-on living in the back there! ”When asked if it's safe to assume the two Mimis were acting-out a not-ready-for-primetime uncensored version, she laughed. “We were vulgar, inappropriate… the uncensored version happened in the green room — correct!”

The cast of Rent: Live performed on a loose version of the entire show for the live audience with Hunt in a wheelchair, a last minute decision that reminded many of the invited dress rehearsal performance of Rent that happened at the New York Theater Workshop in 1995 after creator Jonathan Larson died. "We definitely had flashbacks to the invited dress," Rubin-Vega said. "Those obstacles are good for actors," she added, referring to the cast's response to Hunt's unfortunate injury. We were whole-heartedly supportive of the cast and wish Brennan well. ”

Rubin-Vega described stepping onto the huge 360 ​​degree Rent: Live set created by theater designer Jason Sherwood as" so meta. " She continued, "It is like being inside an episode of Black Mirror like being inside a video game of Rent !"

The energy she felt when the original cast hit the Stage for their big moment was palpable. "It was just a wall of screams coming at us," she shared. “You couldn't hear the first note of the song. The only way I knew it was watching everyone else lift up their microphones. ”Rubin-Vega said the enthusiastic fans were looking for“ humans in boiling oil screaming to get out! ”

Pascal, Martin, Menzel, Diggs, Rubin-Vega, Kristen Lee, Hicks, Nakasone & Utley perform "Seasons of Love" on Broadway in 1996 (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Rubin-Vega says the cult of Rent is sometimes hard to wrap her head around. "I'm a soccer mom," she said. “I like to think of myself as an artist, too, but I don't really understand how Rent has affected people.” She said she did, however, like getting a text from her 14-year-old old son Luca after the broadcast saying, "Mom, you were great." "That's everything to me," she said. “Really be cool when I do a part on Bob's Burgers . That's when I´ll have arrived! ”

Rubin-Vega says her feelings for her co-stars are deep and real. “It's hard to articulate how I feel about all those people up there,” she says. “Family is family. And when you've been through traumatic experiences, it solidifies relationships. It was really important to see everybody and very healing. It really was. Also, it was a lot of fun! ”


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