Daphne Rubin-Vega was an actress in the original Broadway production of RENT. She played Mimi Marquez.


Early Life[]

Daphne was born in Panama City, Panama on November 18th, 1969.[1] Her parents were Daphine Corina (a nurse) and Jose Mercedes Vega (a carpenter). Her mother later remarried Leonard Rubin, who was a writer.[2]

Daphne moved to America when she was two years old. Her mother died when she was ten.

Early career[]

While Daphne is best known for her role as Mimi, she also wrote original songs and performed in the comedy group El Barrio USA. She studied acting with William Esper as well as at the New Labyrinth Theater Company.[2]

One of her roles before RENT included Cinda, from Faust. At one point, she was a sculptor's model and assistant.[3]


Daphne played the role of Mimi Marquez from the very beginning. She auditioned for and received the role from Jonathan Larson.

She played the role of Mimi in the 1994 New York Theatre Workshop production, the original Broadway production in 1996, and the “Angel Tour”.

For her role as Mimi, she was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Actress in a Musical), a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and won the Theatre World Award.

She was unable to reprise her role as Mimi in the 2005 movie due to her pregnancy, so it was given to Rosario Dawson.


Daphne has been nominated for numerous awards over the course of her acting career for various roles.[3] Her full list of nominations and wins is as follows:

Award Award Title Status
Drama Desk (2018) Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama Desk (2016) Outstanding Solo Performance Nominated
Drama Desk (1996) Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle (2016) Outstanding Solo Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle (2012) Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Theater World Awards (1996) Theatre World Award Winner
Tony Award (2004) Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Tony Award (1996) Best Actress in a Musical Nominated

RENT Credits[]

New York Theatre Workshop - 10/29/94 - 11/06/94 - Mimi Marquez

Broadway - 04/29/96 - 04/05/97 - Mimi Marquez

“Angel” Tour - 01/22/99 - 04/11/99 - Mimi Marquez

Biography (1996)[]

Daphne Rubin-Vega (Mimi) performed in the studio production of Rent at New York Theatre Workshop and played Cinda in Randy Newman’s Faust at La Jolla Playhouse. Until recently Daphne writing songs for an album and single releases on the Maxi label. Her former “real” job as sculptor’s model and assistant included scrubbing floors and doing laundry.



  • She won the Theatre World Award in 1996 for RENT.
  • Was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in RENT as Best Actress in a Musical.
  • Her castmate Wilson Jermaine Heredia, also starred alongside her in the 1999 film Flawless.
  • Rubin-Vega did not participate in the film adaptation of Rent, as she was pregnant at the time of the movie's casting and filming. The role was subsequently given to Rosario Dawson.