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- Originally played by Anthony Rapp
- Expy: Of Marcello, the painter, from La Bohème.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: There really is no central character, but he gets the most stage/screentime, and the story is told from his viewpoint.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Roger.
- 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).
- 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. And when I capture it on film, will it mean that it's the end and I'm alone?
- Originally played by Adam Pascal
- Big "NO!": In "Finale A".
- Character Development: He eventually defrosts, thanks to his friends and Mimi.
- Dying Moment of Awesome/Redemption Equals Death: "One Song Glory" reveals that he's hoping for both.
- Expy: Of Rodolfo, the poet, from La Bohème.
- Grief Song/"I Want" Song: "One Song Glory" is a combination.
- Iconic Item: In the stageplay/musical, it's his plaid pants and black nail varnish. In the film, it's his leather jacket.
- Living on Borrowed Time: It affects him more than any other character.
- Signature Song: "One Song Glory".
- Older and Wiser: Compared to Mimi.
- 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 half-black, white, etc - and more than one fully-black (and dark-skinned) actress has played her as well.
- 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.
- Disney Death: She's saved through The Power of Rock... 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" is performed while Mimi is at work instead of at her apartment like in the play.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's an exotic dancer rather than a hooker, but follows this trope all the same.
- Lady in Red: During "Light My Candle", which is about her trying to seduce Roger for the first time.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: To Roger.
- Stalker with a Crush: She did come into Roger's apartment through his window.
- Too Kinky to Torture: It's a living...
- Originally played by Jesse L. Martin
- Brilliant but Lazy: Despite having a teaching job at NYU, he's bored and unsatisfied.
- Expy: Of Colline, the philosopher, from La Bohème.
- Originally played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia
- Ambiguous Gender: Literally speaking, as opposed to "ambiguous sex." Usually referred to with female pronouns, but doesn't seem to mind masculine ones.
- Magical Queer: Literally. Se sends Mimi back from death
- Meaningful Name: After hir death, se continues to hover benevolently over hir friends like some sort of... what's the word I'm looking for here? You know, they made a show where these creatures touched people, and a movie where they were in the outfield and a play where they were in America.
- Refuge in Audacity: The reason we can forgive Angel for killing Evita.
- Sidekick Song: "Today 4 U".
- Originally played by Idina Menzel
- Expy: Of Musetta, the singer, from La Bohème.
- Genki Girl: "Over the Moon" shows us just how... vivacious she can be.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: To Joanne. Was probably this for Mark, as well.
- The Masochism Tango: The tango...Maureen.
- 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.
- Originally played by Fredi Walker (Traci Thoms in The Movie)
- 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.
- 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".
- Twofer Token Minority: Black and a lesbian.
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 no where 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 proably 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 confroted 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?"
- 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.