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Mark Cohen
Originally played by Anthony Rapp

Roger and Collins's roommate and Maureen's ex-boyfriend. A cynical documentarist living in Alphabet City who rebels against the gentrification taking place around him and fears watching his friends and loved ones dying of AIDS.

  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He and Roger share entitlement issues about what the world owes them. Even so, he does all he can to care for Roger and his friends, such as being their for Roger after April dies.
  • 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, his ex-girlfriend's new girlfriend.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Roger and Mimi.
  • 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

Mark's and Collins's roommate. Roger is a musician recently diagnosed with HIV after using tainted heroin needles during his time as an addict, and has been attempting to write a song that will leave a legacy for when he dies.

  • Big "NO!": In "Finale A".
  • Character Development: He eventually defrosts, thanks to his friends and Mimi.
  • Defrosting Ice King: He starts out coldly rebuking any of Mimi's passes at him, but after taking things a bit too far in "Another Day", he personally apologizes to her and tries to make it up to her.
  • 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.
  • Hikkikomori: He rarely leaves the flat due to his addiction recovery and his diagnosis. This changes as he meets Mimi and the rest of the group.
  • Iconic Item: In the stageplay/musical, it's his plaid pants and black nail varnish. In the film, it's his leather jacket.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's the most aloof, solitary and pessimistic out of his friends, but he loves them all very dearly.
  • Living on Borrowed Time: It affects him more than any other character.
  • On the Rebound: Part of the reason he rejects Mimi's advances is that his girlfriend died several months ago, and he hasn't coped well due to her reasons.
  • Recovered Addict: His drug addiction is what caused him to contract HIV in the first place. He has since cleaned up his act, but not without the crushing knowledge that he's Living on Borrowed Time.
  • Signature Song: "One Song Glory".
  • Older and Wiser: Compared to Mimi. As a former musician and junkie, he tries his best to convince Mimi to stop taking drugs. When he learns that she's been feeding her addiction behind his back, their relationship suffers as a result.


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

An exotic dancer living in the same building as Roger and Mark, and Benny's occasional mistress. Mimi is suffering from AIDS and, unlike Roger, is still addicted to heroin, which she struggles to quit.

  • 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.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: To Roger. Subverted, in that she comes back (somehow).
  • 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.
  • The Hedonist: If her song, "Out Tonight" has anything to say about it, Mimi's philosophy is to spend every waking moment enjoying yourself while you can.
  • 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.

Tom Collins
Originally played by Jesse L. Martin

Mark and Roger's roommate. Collins is a philosophy professor at New York University, a staunch political anarchist, and a gay man living with HIV. He meets and falls in love with Angel, which sets the course of the group coming together.

  • Break the Cutie: Out of all his friends, he's clearly the most crushed by Angel's death.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite having worked for MIT and having a teaching job at NYU, he's bored, unsatisfied and unemployed.
  • Expy: Of Colline, the philosopher, from La Bohème.

Angel Dumott-Schunard
Originally played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia

A drag queen musician working as a street entertainer in Alphabet City. Angel is suffering from terminal AIDS, and falls in love with Collins in her time remaining.

  • 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

Joanne's girlfriend, Mark's ex, and the former roommate of the latter, Benny, Collins, and Roger. Maureen is an eccentric performance artist who spearheads the charge against gentrification in her neighbourhood with the help of her friends and neighbours.

  • 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 (Tracie Thoms in The Movie)

Maureen's girlfriend. A Harvard educated lawyer who advocates for Maureen's social justice causes while also putting up with the latter's unfaithfulness.

  • 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.
  • Only Sane Woman: She's the one within the circle of eight friends that's nearly consistently grounded, having found a solid counterbalance between working within society (as a lawyer) while also supporting creative designs (such as those of Mark and 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

The former roommate of Mark, Roger, Maureen, and Collins, and a sometimes-lover of Mimi's. Benny married into the family of a real estate developer and, in the eyes of his friends, has sold out.

  • 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?"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, he can be a bit of a dick, but he really is a decent guy beneath it all, paying for the cost of Angel's funeral without question and paying for Mimi's rehab when Mark mentions that he knows a clinic.
  • 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.


Example of: