9Works Theatrical brings back 'Rent' for a new generation 2
The cast of 'Rent' in rehearsals. 9Works Theatrical

9Works Theatrical brings back 'Rent' for a new generation

Jonathan Larson’s award-winning musical “Rent” was last staged in Manila in 2010 by 9Works Theatrical.
Leah C. Salterio | Apr 18 2024


Jonathan Larson’s award-winning musical “Rent” was last staged in Manila in 2010 by 9Works Theatrical.

“We staged it three times in a span of one year,” 9Works Theatrical executive producer and managing director Santi Santamaria told ANCX. “Twice at RCBC Plaza, the first and the third. The second one in Rockwell; we did it in one of the cinemas. The run extended to one year, until 2011.”

The first time “Rent” was staged in Manila was in 1999 – only three years after it premiered in Broadway in 1996 – with Monique Wilson, Calvin Millado, Michael de Mesa, JM Rodriguez, Jamie Wilson in the cast for director Bobby Garcia’s Atlantis Production and Wilson’s New Voice Company.

“We were the second,” said Santamaria. “Toff de Venecia, who just graduated from college at that time, suggested ‘Rent’ in 2010. He insisted that we try it. He became our youngest partner for the second staging of ‘Rent.’

“That was the reason we did ‘Rent’ at that time even if it was already done before. Looking back to what we did, it was a new generation of artists who performed at that time.

“Today, we are also bringing the third staging of ‘Rent.’ This is another generation. The fact that ‘Tick, Tick, Boom’ was just staged last year, many talents still came to audition. Around 500-ish came for the ‘Rent’ audition.

“We want to recover our losses when no performances were staged in the pandemic. We needed something that, we think, would be able to sell..”


It was during the staging of “Tick, Tick, Boom” last year when “Rent” was finalized to be restaged.

“It was my idea to restage ‘Rent’,” admitted Santamaria. “Then, I just cascaded it to the team. I think it was just natural for us to do ‘Rent’ after the successful run of ‘Tick, Tick, Boom’ last year. We announced it as soon as ‘Tick, Tick Boom’ ended.

“We were hopeful that ‘Tick, Tick, Boom’ would be a success and it was. Secondly, I realized that when we did ‘Rent’ in 2010, there was a 10-year gap from the first one. Yet, it still resonated. It still had the following.

“Now, 14 years later, it will be a different set of audience again for ‘Rent.’ A different cast totally. A younger one. Of course, the ones who did ‘Rent’ in 2010, they grew into different roles already.”

The new cast of “Rent” is made up of Anthony Rosaldo as Roger Davis, Thea Astley and Molly Langley alternating as Mimi Marquez, Reb Atadero and Ian Pangilinan alternating as Mark Cohen, and Jasmine Fitzgerald and Justine Peña alternating as Maureen Johnson.

Garrett Bolden plays Tom Collins, Adrian Lindayag and Lance Reblando alternate as Angel Dumott Schunard, Markki Stroem is Benny Coffin III and Tom Collins, Fay Castro and Mica Fajardo alternate as Joanne Jefferson, and Guji Lorenzana is Benny/Mr. Jefferson.

Completing the cast are Abi Sulit as Pam, Jordan Andrews as Gordon, Misha Fabian as Ally, Chesko Rodriguez and Antonio Valdez alternating as Steve, Kai Banzon as Alexi Darling and Vyen Villanueva as Paul.


Director is Robbie Guevarra returns as director, with Daniel Bartolome as musical director, PJ Avelino is choreographer, Mio Infante as scenographer, Cathy Azanza as acting coach and Lionel Guico as vocal coach.

Most of the new cast were still in their teens when the 2010 version was staged. “Most of them haven’t seen our show,” said Santamaria. “The Gen Z-ers are coming to the theaters. I saw them watch ‘Tick, Tick, Boom.’ They haven’t seen ‘Rent’ yet.”

One interesting perspective that Santamaria shared is “You have to watch ‘Rent’ in musical theater, it’s just like watching [the sitcom] ‘Friends.’ Although ‘Friends’ was shown in the '90s, you have to go through it and watch it.”

9Works Theatrical is staging “Rent” for seven weeks. “Normally, only four weekends... It just extended and extended,” Santamaria happily announced. 

“Rent” opens April 20 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza in Makati City.