"Rent" is on the money at New World Stages

MISANI Special to the AmNews | 8/18/2011, 2:26 p.m.

Other characters are Maureen Johnson (Annaleigh Ashford), a bisexual performance artist; Joanne Jefferson (Corbin Reid), Maureen's lesbian girlfriend who is a lawyer; and Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III (Ephraim Sykes), the former roommate of Roger, Mark, Collins and Maureen. Benny, who married for money, is now the landlord of the building where he once lived with Mark and Roger. Although married, he still has the hots for Mimi, who is busy checking out someone else.

Rounding out the cast are Morgan Weed, who plays Mrs. Cohen (Mark's mother), Coat Vendor and others; Ben Thompson, who plays The Man, a drug dealer, Mr. Grey and others; Marcus Paul James, who plays Mr. Jefferson, Paul and Others; Tamika Sonja Lawrence, who plays Mrs. Jefferson, Homeless Woman and others; Michael Wartella as Waiter; and Margot Bingham as Alexi Darling, Mrs. Davis and others.

The "Rent" company rocks this hot contemporary musical with every number, turning it out again and again on such numbers as "Rent" and "Seasons of Love." Show-stopping moments belong to Fernandez singing "Out Tonight," Rodriguez and Christopher rendering the touching "I'll Cover You," Fernandez and Shingledecker on "Another Day," "Without You" and "Light My Candle" (with the company). Ashford's "Over The Moon" number is one hilarious hoot! She certainly worked it over the moon.

Go see this rendition of "Rent!" It is a brilliantly entertaining and provocatively moving show with heart and balls. Its humanitarian message, focusing on such topics as affordable housing, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, makes "Rent" a timeless classic, and this supreme crop of talented actors are all that and more!

And with the close of the curtain, we are pleased to present the entire cast of "Rent" with a Casting Pearls Award. Bravo! Bravo!

For tickets to "Rent," call the theater's box office at (212) 947-8844 or Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 (outside New York: (800) 432-7250).