Playbill from the 1997 concert at the Nederlander, the Broadway home of RENT. The concert—a benefit for New York Theatre Workshop—featured Jonathan Larson's unsung songs.

This is a non-canon article.

This article covers subjects that are not part of the main RENT canon, but are still relevant to the show and it's development.

The first New York Theatre Workshop production was a developmental workshop presentation of RENT that was staged at the not-for-profit theatre company in the East Village of New York City. Jonathan and his friends visited the theatre while it was being renovated and knew it was the perfect home for the musical, so they dropped off the script which the artistic staff of the theatre reviewed and agreed to produce. The 1994 workshop was an early version of the musical which would continue development at New York Theatre Workshop for two years before the world premiere Off-Broadway production in 1996 which transferred directly to Broadway.

In 1994, RENT featured songs that never made it to the final version, such as "You're A Fool", "Voice Mail #4", "He's A Fool", "Open Road", the predecessor of "What You Own"; "He Says", "On The Street #1-3", "You'll Get Over It", the predecessor of "Tango: Maureen," featuring Mark and Maureen; "Right Brain", later rewritten as "One Song Glory", featuring Roger; "Do A Little Business", the predecessor of "You'll See," featuring Benny, Mark, Roger, Collins, and Angel; "Female to Female A & B," featuring Maureen and Joanne; and "Real Estate", a number wherein Benny tries to convince Mark to become a real estate agent and drop his filmmaking.

This developmental workshop of RENT starred Anthony Rapp as Mark and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi, both of whom would later be part of the Off-Broadway and Original Broadway Cast. Larson continued to work on RENT, rewriting songs and lyrics and revising characters over the course of more developmental workshops at New York Theatre Workshop.


Developmental Workshop Cast at New York Theatre Workshop
Character Actor
Mark Cohen Anthony Rapp
Roger Davis Tony Hoylen
Mimi Marquez Daphne Rubin-Vega
Tom Collins Pat Briggs
Angel Dumott Schunard Mark Setlock
Maureen Johnson Sarah Knowlton
Joanne Jefferson Shelley Dickenson
Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III Michael Potts


Act I
Song Sung by
Voice Mail #1 Mark, Roger, Dave, Mark's Mom, Benny
Rent Mark and Roger
You Okay Honey? Angel, Collins, Maureen, Joanne
Rent #2 Roger, Mark
You're A Fool Mark, Roger, Collins, Angel
Do a Little Business Benny, Mark, Collins, Angel
Female to Female Maureen, Joanne
Come to the Meeting Mark, Angel, Collins, Roger
Right Brain Roger
Light My Candle Roger and Mimi
On The Street Homeless
Voice Mail #2 Maureen, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson, Joanne
Female to Female B Maureen, Joanne
Another Day Roger and Mimi
On the Street #2 Company
Santa Fe Angel, Collins, Mark
I'll Cover You Mark, Collins and Angel
You'll Get Over It Maureen and Mark
Christmas Bells Company
Over the Moon Maureen
La Vie Boheme Company
AZT Break Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne, Roger, Mimi
I Should Tell You Roger and Mimi
Act II
Song Sung by
Voice Mail #3 Benny and Secretary
Seasons of Love Company
Out Tonight Mimi, Maureen, Angel, Joanne
Seasons of Love B Company
Voice Mail #4 Maureen
Without You Maureen and Joanne
Voice Mail #5 Collins, Angel
Contact Company
I'll Cover You B Collins and Company
Goodbye Love Mimi, Roger, Benny, Maureen, Joanne, Mark
Real Estate Mark, Benny, Alison
Open Road Roger
Voice Mail #6 Roger's Mom, Mimi's Mom, Joanne's Dad, Mark's Mom
On the Street #3 Homeless
Rent #3 Roger and Mark
Finale Company


  • In this version Maureen was HIV+.
  • Many of the songs featured were either cut or rewritten for the Off-Broadway production and subsequent Broadway transfer of RENT.