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Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Larson

Plot Synopsis

Rent is a rock opera with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

The musical was first seen in a limited three-week workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1994. This same New York City off-Broadway theatre was also the musical's initial home following its official January 25, 1996 opening. The show's creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly the night before the off-Broadway premiere. The show won a Pulitzer Prize, and the production was a hit. The musical moved to Broadway's larger Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996.

On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008, after a 12-year run and 5,124 performances, making it the ninth-longest-running Broadway show by that time, ten years behind The Phantom of the Opera as of December 2009. The production grossed over $280 million.


2011-2012 Production

Rent, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, OttawaMarch 2-11, 2012 - Centrepointe Theatre, Ottawa


"The incredibly talented ensemble earned every cheer, laugh and ovation they received." (Jim Murchison, The Charleboix Post)

"A long awaited sign that a whole new generation of vastly talented musical theatre artists is emerging in Ottawa." (Alvina Ruprecht, Ottawa Citizen)

"With a truly talented cast, under the direction of Nicole Milne, Rent will draw you in, get you seat-dancing, laughing, and yes, OK, crying." (Caroline Bowden, Ottawa Tonite)

"An outstanding production!" (Sharon Letovsky, Ontario Arts Review)

 Orpheus Production of Rent (Ottawa, 2012)


Cast of Characters

After careful review and consideration, the Board is satisfied that the audition process for Rent was conducted with integrity and fairness consistent with Orpheus standards, and is pleased to announce the cast:

Angel Dumott Schunard Jeremy Sanders
Benjamin (Benny) Coffin III Stefan Keyes
Joanne Jefferson Becky Abbott
Mark Cohen Brennan Richardson
Maureen Johnson Devon O'Reilly
Mimi Marquez Andrea Black
Roger Davis Derek (D.J.) Eyamie
Tom Collins Maxim David


  Mary Armstrong
  Antoine Collins
  Milton Dover
  Iyono Ede
  Andrew Galligan
  Joy Mwandemange
  Emily Reid
  David Rowan
  Shaun Toohey


Conductor, Keyboard

James Caswell


Wendy Berkelaar

Acoustic & Electric Guitar

Craig Kennedy, René Gely

Electric Bass

Tom McMahon


Pierre Huneault

Production Personnel

Artistic Director

Nicole Milne

Musical Director

James Caswell


Debbie Millett

Executive Producer

Steve Jones


Gord Guest

Stage Manager

Heather Forsyth

Technical Director

Steve Jones

Set Designer

Jennifer Donnelly

Scenic Artist

Jennifer Donnelly

Costume Designer

Tiara Wallace

Wardrobe Mistress

Tiara Wallace


Karen Wallace

Costume Production Manager

Wendy Blakey

Lighting Designer

David Magladry

Sound Designer

John Cybanski

Make-Up Designer

Kerry Price

Hair Designer

Kerry Price

Master Carpenter

Steve Jones

Rehearsal Accompanist

Wendy Berkelaar

Audition Accompanist(s)

Wendy Berkelaar

Production Assistant(s)

Alison Foley Howard

Props Designer

Rob Puchyr

Properties Carpenter


Orpheus House Social Convenor

Bryan Jesmer

Theatre Food Coordinator

Jean Meldrum

Assistants (A), Apprentices (@)


To Artistic Director


To Musical Director


To Stage Manager


To Choreographer


Volunteer Coordinator

John McGovern


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Archival Information: Character Breakdown

Angel Dumott Schunard

A transvestite street drummer infected with HIV. Incredible dancer with a magnetic personality. Needs to move extremely well and do all parts of the dance audition. Must dress comfortably in drag. Those auditioning for Angel must also be comfortable with portraying an emotional and physical connection with someone the same sex.
Playing age range: 18-25.
C3 - A4

Benjamin Coffin III

Wealthy landlord of Mark and Roger's building, and their former roommate. Benny wants to start a multimedia studio.
Playing age range: 25-35.
Eb3 - F4

Joanne Jefferson

A headstrong lesbian public interest lawyer with a wry sense of humour and sardonic wit. She is also Maureen's lover. Actress should be able to move well; dances a Tango. Those auditioning for Joanne must be comfortable portraying an emotional and physical connection with someone of the same sex.
Playing age range: 25-35.
Bb3 - E5

Mark Cohen

A filmmaker and video artist, determined to capture "real" life on film. Quirky but cool, likeable and highly strung. He is the narrator of the show and Roger's roommate. We are looking for a strong actor and singer who can move reasonably well; dances a Tango.
Playing age range: 22-30.
C#3 - G4

Maureen Johnson

An East Village performance artist. Joanne's lover and Mark's ex-girlfriend. Some nice comedic opportunities here - a diva with a big personality. Those auditioning for Maureen must be comfortable portraying an emotional and physical connection with other women.
Playing age range: 25-35
C4 - F5
Soprano Belt

Mimi Marquez

A dancer with AIDS and a drug problem. Desperate for a place to feel safe and protected. She is Benny's ex-girlfriend and Roger's current love interest. We are looking for a strong actor, singer and dancer. Those auditioning for Mimi must perform the entire dance audition.
Playing age range: 19-25.
F#3 - E5

Roger Davis

An edgy, struggling musician who's HIV+. He hopes to write one last meaningful song before he dies. Mark's roommate and Mimi's love interest. The character plays guitar live on stage at various points in the show, and must be comfortable with rock-style singing.
Playing age range: 22-32.
B2 - A4

Tom Collins

An HIV+ computer genius who has recently returned to New York after an absence. A philosopher, teacher, anarchist and AIDS activist, Collins has a deep capacity for love and understanding. He is also Angel's lover. Those auditioning for Collins must be comfortable portraying a physical and emotional relationship with someone of the same sex.
Playing age range: 24-35.
F#2 - A4 [NB: There is only one high A (A4) for this character. It is of short duration.]


Playing age range: 18-35
The ensemble will work around the eight leads as community members, parents and homeless. We will be casting approximately 10 to 12 ensemble members; however that number is largely dependent on turnout. Those interested in the ensemble must be vocally dynamic, with excellent musical ear (pitch) and an ability to move well on stage.

NOTE: These age ranges generally mean "... or actors who can play within that range", meaning if you are 40 or above, you may very well be able to portray a character within the requested age ranges, so feel free to audition.


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