Based loosely on Puccini's La Boheme, Jonathan Larson's Rent follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The physical and emotional complications of the disease pervade the lives of Roger, Mimi, Tom and Angel. Maureen deals with her chronic infidelity through performance art; her partner, Joanne, wonders if their relationship is worth the trouble. Benny has sold out his Bohemian ideals in exchange for a hefty income and is on the outs with his former friends. Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, feels like an outsider to life in general. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical.
The Downriver Actors Guild is committed to the continued growth and learning of diversity, equity, and inclusion. DAG casting teams and its directors are working to be intentional in addressing their implicit bias. We are striving to be inclusive of all diverse actors including race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, body type, and ability. We recognize that many of these characters are written on the binary and gender non-conforming, genderqueer, transgender, and non-binary actors should be encouraged to submit for the roles they most identify with.
RENT features many adult themes, including sex, drug use, profanity, and same-sex intimacy. Due to the adult nature of RENT, all actors must be over 18 at the time of auditions. NO exceptions
This show is mostly sung though. Seeking to cast 15-20 Strong Singer-Actors of all ages, shapes, sizes, diverse ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, as well as all gender and sexual expressions. The director highly encourages auditioners to consider ANY and EVERY role when auditioning as there are many featured solo moments which require strong vocals. Auditioners are also strongly encouraged to bring their own flavor and personality to these songs. We do not want to hear an exact replica of what happens on any cast recording or film soundtrack.
There will not be a dance/movement section of the audition. However, If you are a DANCER (like, “God I’m a dancer, a dancer dances”) be prepared to showcase any turns, kicks, leaps, tricks you can do. ANGEL will have a “dance” combination for callbacks.
Mark Cohen: (early-late 20s) Tenor (C#3-G4) An aspiring filmmaker who narrates the show as he films the lives of his friends. Mark never leaves home without a camera. He is Roger's best friend and caregiver, and he was once Maureen’s boyfriend (who left him for Joanne). Mark is a little nerdy and quirky. He insists that he can survive the bleakness of his environment through his art. It soon becomes apparent, though, that he is more comfortable viewing the world through his lens than in actively engaging in it. Seeking actors of all gender expressions and cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
Roger Davis: (mid 20s-early 30s) Rock Tenor (B2-A4) A once successful, now struggling musician who discovered he had HIV/AIDS in a note his girlfriend, April left him before she took her own life. His main goal in life is to write one great song before he dies, but he has not been able to play his guitar in a year, fearing that he has lost his creative energy. He falls in love with Mimi but is too afraid to commit to her, knowing that she also is infected with HIV/AIDS. He is also the roommate and best friend of Mark. He is often depressed and sullen, but he can be expressive and passionate at times.. Guitar skills are a plus, but are not required. Seeking actors of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
Mimi Marquez: (late teens-early 20s) Alto (F#3-E5) Dancer in a strip club and struggles with her addiction, which has resulted in her contraction of HIV/AIDS. She falls in love with Roger, who is unable to commit to a relationship with her. She is also Benny's ex‐girlfriend. She is extremely sexy, optimistic, and likable but with dark secrets. Though Mimi has” lived a lot of life,” she still sees the world through the eyes of a young woman. She intends to make the most of every day, as she earnestly expresses in the song “No Day but Today.” The actress playing this role must be a strong singer, dancer, and exceptional actress. She must be able to convincingly portray the struggles of heroin addiction, sexual promiscuity, and HIV/AIDS, while still maintaining the optimism of youth. Seeking actors of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III: (20s-30s) BariTenor (Eb3-F4) Benny used to be Mark and Roger’s roommate, but he married Alison Grey, a rich family involved with real estate, and he is now their landlord. He had been letting Roger and Mark live in the apartment for free, but he is now forcing them to pay rent or be evicted. Roger and Mark consider him a yuppie sell-out. He also had an affair with Mimi before she started to date Roger. While in the beginning he is caught up in the lifestyle of wealth and affluence, he ultimately realizes his friends are more important than what money can buy. Seeking actors of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities
Maureen Johnson: (20s-30s) Soprano Belt (C4-F5) Pansexual performing artist and Mark's ex‐girlfriend. She left Mark to be with her new girlfriend, Joanne. She is sexy, flirtatious, sassy, and funny. She is bold and speaks her mind, and she is not afraid to take on the establishment and fight for what she believes in. Must be comfortable with same-sex physical intimacy. Seeking actors of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities
Joanne Jefferson: (mid 20s-Mid 30s) Soprano Belt (Bb3-E5) Maureen is a lesbian Ivy League educated lawyer and activist. She struggles to not be jealous of Maureen’s flirtatious nature with others. Though she was raised in an affluent, political family, she is committed to helping those less fortunate. Must be comfortable with same sex-physical intimacy. Seeking actors of all gender expressions, cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. May double as “Seasons of Love” soloist
Tom Collins: (mid 20s- late 30s) BariTenor (F#2-A4) Tom Collins is a gay computer genius, teacher, and anarchist who was recently expelled from MIT. In the opening scene he is mugged, reflecting the harsh reality of the world in which the characters live. He is brave enough to allow himself to fall in love with Angel, knowing that since both of them are infected with HIV/AIDS, their relationship will not have much of a future. Tom and Angel’s relationship is the heart of the show, as the genuine love and devotion they have for one another brings hope and inspiration to the entire group. They show the world how to truly live life and not be afraid. Must be comfortable with same sex-physical intimacy. May double as “Seasons of Love” Soloist Seeking actors of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities
Angel Dumot Schunard: (early 20s-late 20s) Tenor w/ Falsetto (C3-A4) Angel is a young drag queen and street percussionist. He meets and falls in love with Collins. They have HIV/ AIDS and die of the disease in Act II. As a person, Angel is the most generous and selfless character in the show. Angel hands out money to the neighborhood while dressed in Santa drag. Though they have HIV/AIDS, they embrace life and live it to its fullest. People are naturally drawn to them, and their smile lights up the room. Their death is mourned by all of the characters and eventually inspires them to live each day to the fullest. As mentioned in Tom’s character description, Tom and Angel’s relationship is the heart of the show, as the genuine love and devotion they have for one another brings hope and inspiration to the entire group. They show the world how to truly live life and not be afraid. The actor playing this role must be an excellent actor, singer, and mover. They must be comfortable with same-sex physical intimacy and a drag queen persona, including dancing in heels. Percussionist skills desired but not required. Seeking actors of all gender expressions, cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Will be asked to dance at callbacks, heels/platform shoes encouraged.
Ensemble roles: Seeking All vocal ranges.
Seasons Of Love Soloists - 2 strong vocalists able to vocally improvise/riff in Rock, Jazz or Gospel style singing. May double as Principal role.
Alexi Darling - TV Segment Producer “Buzzline”
Mrs. Cohen - Mark’s mom on Long Island
Mr. & Mrs. Jefferson - Joanne’s successful Upper East Side parents
Homeless Lady - Featured soloist. May double as Seasons of Love Solost
Squeegee Man - Just trying to make an “honest living”
Mrs. Davis -Roger’s Mother
Sra. Marquez - Mimi’s Mother
Mr. Grey - Benny’s Father-in-law
The Man - Dealer
Waiter at Life Cafe - Feature La Vie Boheme
April - Roger’s girlfriend, seeking strong dancer
Life Support Group (Steve, Gordon, Ali, Pam, Sue) - Features in Life Support, Will I?, Another Day
Priest - Feature in Goodbye Love
Carolers, Cops, Bohemians