Characters / RENT

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Mark Cohen
Originally played by Anthony Rapp

  • How We Got Here: Inverted by Halloween. "How did we get here, how the hell..."
  • Iconic Item: His black and white scarf, and red and blue jumper.
  • Le Film Artistique: Mark's raison d'être.
  • Man Hug: With Roger on several occasions, most notably at the end of "What You Own" (only in the movie, they don't actually see each other in the show).
  • Odd Friendship: With Joanne.
  • Stepford Smiler: While he's always attempting to be Roger's happy, supportive best friend, the song "Halloween" marks him (pun intended) as someone contemplative, mournful, and terrified of the reality of his situation.
    Mark: And when I capture it on film, will it mean that it's the end and I'm alone?

Roger Davis
Originally played by Adam Pascal

Mimi Márquez
Originally played by Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rosario Dawson in The Movie)

  • Ambiguously Brown: Mimi is said to be Latina, but she's also been played by actresses who are biracial, white, etc. — and more than one black actress has played her (which doesn't preclude her being Latina as white and black Latino people exist.)
  • Bad Girl Song: "Out Tonight" is made of this.
  • Dawson Casting: "I'm nineteen, but I'm old for my age!" Though, since many of the other characters are only mid-twenties, the potential exists for them as well.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Only in the Dutch production. For others, well, see Disney Death.
  • Disney Death: She's saved through The Power of Rock and The Power of Love... alongside a heavy dose of Fridge Logic/slight Mind Screw.
  • Expy: Of, well, Mimi, the seamstress, from La Bohème.
  • Fanservice: The only reason why in the film, "Out Tonight" note  is performed while Mimi is at work instead of at her apartment like in the play.

Tom Collins
Originally played by Jesse L. Martin

Angel Dumott-Schunard
Originally played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia

  • Expy: Of Schaunard, the musician, from La Bohème.
  • The Heart: Of the group of friends. It's at Angel's funeral that they have a huge fight and break up.
  • Magical Queer: Literally. Se sends Mimi back from death.

Maureen Johnson
Originally played by Idina Menzel

  • Anything That Moves: She flirts with anyone of any gender, even when she's with her boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Attention Whore: She loves being in the limelight and making people fall for her.
  • Bi the Way: She was Mark's girlfriend and is dating Joanne at the start of the musical.
  • Expy: Of Musetta, the singer, from La Bohème.
  • Genki Girl: "Over the Moon" shows us just how... vivacious she can be.
  • Lady in Red: In the movie's "Tango: Maureen" sequence, she wears a red dress and a rose in her hair.
  • Large Ham: Oh God yes, "Over the Moon" is all about showing off just how hammy she can be. She even breaks the fourth wall and gets the audience (yes, YOU, the audience members) to moo with her.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: To Joanne. Was probably this for Mark, as well.
  • The Masochism Tango: The tango... Maureen.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Maureen is easily the least serious character in this musical, and has one of the funniest songs as well.
  • Sidekick Song: "Over the Moon".
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: As she states in "Take Me Or Leave Me" to justify how she acts.
    Maureen: Every single day, I walk down the street.
    I hear people say, "Baby's so sweet!"
    Ever since puberty, everybody stares at me!
    Boys, girls, I can't help it, baby...

Joanne Jefferson
Originally played by Fredi Walker (Traci Thoms in The Movie)

  • Butch Lesbian: She's not completely masculine, but she wears suits and ties.
  • Closer to Earth: Compared to the rest of her circle of friends, she is the only one with a high-paying, steady, professional career, and is basically the only thing keeping Maureen and Mark from imploding.
  • Expy: To a lesser extent than the other characters, but she does vaguely parallel Alcindoro from La Bohème.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Though mostly because being with Maureen forces her to be extra paranoid whenever it looks like she may be flirting with someone.
  • Odd Friendship: With Mark, due to them both dating Maureen.
  • Out of Focus: She is the only one of the eight primary characters who doesn't get her own solo in the film, which was rectified by giving her the solo in "Seasons of Love".

Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III
Originally played by Taye Diggs

  • Anti-Villain: He has good intentions to help the neighborhood, but they include displacing an entire tent city of homeless people who have nowhere else to go, and he's basically a jerk to his friends.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: At least, the rest of the gang sees him as this. Going back on your word about not charging your friends rent probably had something to do with that.
  • Evil Former Friend: As above.
  • Expy: Of Benoit, the landlord, from La Bohème.
  • Friendly Enemy/Vitriolic Best Buds: With Collins, at least.
  • I Lied: When he became their landlord, he told Mark and Roger that they could stay in the building for free, and then he goes back on his word. When confronted about this, he claims he just "let it slide".
  • The Idealist: He used to be this. Roger asks "What happened to Benny? What happened to his heart and the ideals he once pursued?"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: More favourable portrayals and interpretations tend to position him here. He's going back on a promise he made to his former friends, screwing them over in the process, and he isn't exactly nice about it. But he also at one point notes that out of all of them he's the only one of them actually trying to improve the neighbourhood (even if his way is basically gentrification) rather than simply living in squalor under the guise of 'rejecting the system' and/or remaining true to their artistic integrity (or pretensions, if you choose to view them unfavourably). He also argues when his former friends protest his treatment of the homeless that their objections to his actions are more self-serving and self-interested (not losing their apartment and/or performance space) than they're willing to admit.
  • Landlord: Negative version. He told Roger and Mark that he wouldn't charge them rent and that they could stay in their building for free, then he shows up on Christmas Day to demand the entire year's worth of rent even though he knows full well they don't have it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In-Universe, upon his marriage to Alison.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He sees what he's doing as being in the best long-term interests of the neighborhood.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Has an on-again off-again affair with Mimi despite being married.