There wasn't any dancing on tables, but the cast of the Broadway revival of "Rent" knows how to have a good time.

Following the opening-night performance at the Orpheum on March 25, they mingled with fans and members of the Hennepin Theatre Trust at Manhattans, an especially appropriate venue given the play's New York story line. There was much to celebrate. While the show has been staged in the Twin Cities before, it was the first time both original lead players, Adam Pascal (Roger) and Anthony Rapp (Mark), have reprised their roles locally.

More than a dozen years after the show opened on Broadway, it still seemed relevant.

"It indicates that the specifics aren't as important as the overall message," Pascal said.

Tom Hoch, president and CEO of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, which owns the Orpheum, Pantages and State theaters, agreed. "Every song is something that is a memorable song when you walk out of the theater. 'Seasons of Love,' who doesn't know that song?" he said. "These kinds of shows really add to the cultural vitality of the Twin Cities. We hope to encourage people to really see theater as part of our culture."

Rapp, who originated the role of Mark on Broadway, guesstimates he's been in about 1,000 performances of the show. He's always been a fan of the second act, but lately he's become fond of the first act, including "La Vie Bohème."

Many of the other cast members are also veterans, including Justin Johnston, who has played Angel in various productions since 2002. "I have a Ph.D. in Rent," he said. He has two favorite songs: "Another Day" and "Santa Fe." "[The show] is just brilliant," he said.


Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177