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Mark Cohen is a struggling Jewish documentary filmmaker and the narrator of the show. He is the roommate of Roger Davis and the former roommate of Tom Collins. He is also the ex-boyfriend of Maureen Johnson.

Biography[]

Act One

Mark is the second character to appear in RENT, breaking the fourth wall by telling the audience about his and Roger Davis’ loft and how it’s now Christmas Eve. He begins to film Roger and tells his camera that Roger is finally picking music back up after 6 months of withdrawal (Tune Up #1). He directs Roger to explain why he’s playing his guitar, only to be interrupted by the sound of their home phone going off. Mark films the phone and a message left by his mother plays from it, with her telling him that the Cohen family will miss him on Christmas in his hometown of Scarsdale and that he shouldn’t feel down about Maureen leaving him (Voicemail #1). Mark quickly goes back to filming Roger, but is once again interrupted by the phone (Tune Up #2). When Mark hears his friend Tom Collins’ message, he immediately picks up the phone and throws down the loft’s key so Collins can come up and visit them. When Collins tells him he “may be detained”, Mark asks him what he means by that. However, he gets a call from his former friend and current landlord Benjamin Coffin III, much to his and Roger’s frustration. Benny tells them that he’s expecting the full year’s rent when he arrives, prompting Mark and Roger to remind him that he said they didn’t have to pay it before. Benny muses that he used to live with them before asking them about Maureen, who used to live with them, too. Mark says that she’s performing tonight, but sheepishly admits to Benny that he’s not her production manager or boyfriend anymore. When Benny asks if she’s found a new man, Mark and Roger have to tell him she’s actually found a woman named Joanne. Benny tells them again that, if the pair don’t pay the rent, he’ll have to evict them and he’ll be there to collect it in a few minutes before hanging up. Mark films Roger try to play Musetta’s Waltz until the guitar stops working, caused by a power outage. Mark asks how he’s supposed to document when reality when everything becomes more fictitious by the day, angrily finishing off the statement with a complaint about Benny’s betrayal (Rent). He and Roger ask each other how they’ll cough up the money and complain about how the apartment is now freezing, which Mark tries to solve by lighting candles. They realize they can’t start a fire without anything to burn, but figure that they should set their old papers and works up as fodder for the flame. Mark receives a call from Maureen and tells her he’ll be on his way to fix her technological equipment. At the end of the song, the triumphantly announce that they’re not going to pay their rent. Soon, Mark departs to the lot where Maureen has set up, but not before telling Roger to take his AZT and that he should get out of the lot and join him to see Maureen’s show and come to dinner afterwards (Tune Up #3). Mark returns to the loft, however, perhaps because he did forget something like Roger assumed or because he figures out that Collins is on his way. Collins arrives bearing gifts, mostly food for the boys to live off of. When Mark and Roger realize Collins didn’t bring them any money, Collins introduces them to Angel Dumott Schunard, who had earned a thousand dollars earlier that day (Today 4 U). Mark listens to Angel’s story about egging an akita, Evita, to suicide and how she found Collins hurt on the street. The mood is broken by Benny’s arrival and Mark films him, confirming that Benny formerly lived with them in the loft and that now he’s married to Alison Grey, the daughter of the owner of Grey Real Estate, thus making Benny their current landlord (You’ll See). Benny tells the group that he’s against Maureen’s protest, “Over The Moon”, and it’s subject matter, clearly upset about how it’s targeting his own actions. Roger asks Benny where his own dreams went, but Benny dodges the question by reminding them they need to pay him their rent. Mark and Roger tell him that they don’t have anything to give him and Mark finishes it by telling him Benny broke his promise to them. Benny makes a deal with them: either stop Maureen’s protest and join him in his new venture, opening a cyber-studio called CyberArts, or pay the rent. If they don’t, they’ll get evicted. When Benny finally leaves, Angel and Roger suggest using Prozac or other drugs to make Benny less demanding, while Mark tries to suggest something less intense by saying he merely needs “group hugs”. Collins remembers that him and Angel are going to a nearby Life Support meeting and Mark says he’ll be there after fixing Maureen’s equipment. When Roger rejects the offer, Mark tells him to “behave”. Mark soon arrives to the lot where Maureen is going to perform, only to come face to face with her new girlfriend: Joanne Jefferson (The Tango:Maureen). Joanne recalls how she told Maureen not to call him and tells him that an engineer will be there to fix the equipment. However, she soon relents, saying that the engineer she hired has yet to show up. Joanne tells him that she’s unable to fix the sound system, but Mark tells her there’s another way to fix it, asking her to try speaking into the microphone. They both say it’s weird meeting each other, with Joanne being much more upset about the situation then Mark. Mark explains that her behavior is due to Maureen’s influence and explains that, despite Maureen’s good qualities, she’s incredibly hard to deal with. Joanne, at first, denies Mark’s accusations, saying that her and Maureen have a different relationship compared to when she was with Mark. But when Mark asks her questions about the relationship and vice-versa, Joanne realizes the relationships are more similar then she thought. Keeping up with the “Tango” theme, Mark and Joanne dance a tango together, asking each other where the other learned to dance, with Mark having to tell her he was taught by Nanette Himmelfarb, a Jewish girl from Scarsdale. Joanne comes to the realization that Maureen cheated on Mark with her and could be cheating on her now. Mark’s attempts at fixing the sound system work and he says that he now feels great, only for Joanne to tell him she feels lousy. Maureen calls and refers to Joanne as “pookie”, the nickname she used to use for Mark.

Act Two

Songs[]

Act I
Song Sung With
"Tune Up 1" Roger
"Tune Up 2" Roger, Collins and Benny
"Rent" Roger, Benny, Collins, Joanne Jefferson and Company
"Tune Up 3" Roger
"Today 4 U" Collins, Roger and Angel
"You'll See" Benny, Roger, Collins and Angel
"Tango: Maureen" Joanne
"Life Support" Gordon, Paul, and Company
"Another Day" Mimi, Roger and Company
"Will I?" Steve and Company
"On the Street" Preachers, Squeegee Man, Collins, Angel and homeless woman
"Santa Fe" Collins, Angel, and Company
"Christmas Bells" Company
" La Vie Bohème the waiter, Roger, Benny, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne, Mr. Grey and Company
"La Vie Bohème B" Maureen, Joanne, Boheme girl, Angel and Company
Act II
Song Sung With
" Seasons of Love" Company
"Happy New Year A" Roger, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, and Joanne
"Happy New Year B" Roger, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne, and Benny
"Seasons of Love B" Company
"Contact" Angel and Company
"I'll Cover You" (Reprise) Collins and Company
"Halloween" N/A
"Goodbye Love" Roger, Mimi, Collins, Maureen, Joanne, and Benny
"What You Own" Roger
"Finale A" Roger, Collins, Maureen, Joanne, and Mimi
" Finale B" Company

Gallery[]

Click here to view the gallery for Mark Cohen.

Cast[]

Broadway

1996 - 1998 Anthony Rapp
1998 - 2000 Jim Poulos
2000 - 2002 Trey Ellet
2002 Matt Caplan
2002 Joey Fatone
2002 - 2004 Matt Caplan
2004 - 2005 Drew Lachey
2005 - 2006 Matt Caplan
2006 - 2007 Christopher J. Hanke
2007 Anthony Rapp
2007 - 2008 Harley Jay
2008 Adam Kantor

20th Anniversary US Tour

2016 - 2017 Danny Harris Kornfeld
2017 - 2018 Sammy Ferber
2018 - 2019 Logan Marks
2019 - 2020 Cody Jenkins
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