Mark Cohen is one of the main characters - as well as the narrator - in RENT. He is a filmmaker who decides on Christmas Eve of 1989 to "shoot without a script" and create a documentary of the 1989-1990 year, which turns into RENT. He is one of four of the main characters who is not infected with HIV/AIDS.
Mark is the ex-roommate and ex-boyfriend of Maureen Johnson, who dumped him for a lawyer named Joanne; it is implied that Maureen was cheating on Mark with Joanne for quite some time, and Mark warns Joanne of the performance artist's habits when they first meet ("Tango: Maureen"). Despite the awkwardness of the nature of their first encounter, the two seem to develop a close friendship, and Joanne even gets him a job. He also seems to maintain a friendship with Maureen.
Mark is also best friends with his current roommate, Roger Davis, and is upset by Roger's lack of interest in almost anything since the suicide of Roger's girlfriend April the previous year, but is pleased when Roger begins to develop an interest in Mimi Marquez, the dancer in the flat below. Mark seems to have a good friendship with Mimi. He is also friends with his other ex-roommate, Tom Collins, and becomes very close with Collins' eventual lover, Angel Dumott Schunard. He appears to be constantly annoyed with Benny Coffin and his fluctuating decisions on whether or not Mark and Roger ought to pay their rent.
At the end of the film version, Mark's documentary is played, featuring clips from the film as well as of sequences of the eight stars that do not appear in it, ending with a shot of Angel. In the stage version, he and Roger begin to watch the documentary but their power is then shut off by Benny, though it is completed.
Anthony Rapp portrayed Mark in the original production, as well as in the film, and in 2007 when he returned to the role on broadway for a limited time. He portrayed Mark again in the 2009 national tour.
Adam Kantor was the final Mark in the Broadway company of Rent in 2008. He can be seen in Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.
Skylar Astin portrayed the role of Mark in the 2010 Hollywood Bowl performance of Rent.
Neil Patrick HarrisEdit
Neil Patrick Harris also originated the role of Mark Cohen in the 1997 "Benny Tour" which kicked off in LA.
Harry Cook Edit
Harry Cook played the role of Mark Cohen in the 2016 Sydney Australia production of "Rent".
Adam Chanler-Berat was the first Mark in the first NYC revival of Rent at the New World Stages in 2011.
Josh Grisetti was the final Mark in the Off-Broadway production of Rent at New World Stages in 2012.
Danny Harris Kornfeld Edit
Danny Harris Kornfeld played the role of Mark Cohen in the 20th Anniversary US Tour of Rent in 2016
Sammy Ferber Edit
Sammy Ferber portrayed Mark in the second leg of the 20th Anniversary tour in 2017. In the first leg, he primarily portrayed The Man, but stepped in to play Mark several times.
Robin Stasch-Lungwitz Edit
Robin portrayed Mark for the production of Berliner-Stage-Company e.V. in march 2018 in Germany.
Solos (In A Duet)Edit
- Tune Up #1 (Roger)
- Tune Up #3 (Roger)
- Tango: Maureen (Joanne)
- What You Own (Roger)
- Goodbye Love [Full Version] (Roger)
Solos (In A Group Number)Edit
- Tune Up #2 (Roger, Benny, and Collins)
- Rent (Roger, Joanne, and Company)
- Today 4 U (Collins, Angel, and Roger)
- You'll See (Benny, Collins, Angel, and Roger)
- Life Support (Company)
- On The Street (Angel and Company)
- Christmas Bells (Collins, Angel, Roger, and Company)
- La Vie Boheme (Benny, Maureen, Joanne, Mimi, Angel, Collins, Roger, and Company)
- La Vie Boheme B (Joanne, Mimi, Angel, Collins, Maureen, and Company)
- Happy New Year A (Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins and Maureen)
- Happy New Year B (Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins, Maureen, and Benny)
- Goodbye Love (Roger, Mimi, Collins, Joanne, and Benny)
- Finale A (Roger, Collins, Maureen, Mimi)
- Finale B (Roger, Mimi, and Company)
- Will I (Company)
- Santa Fe (Collins and Angel)
- Seasons of Love (Company)
- Seasons of Love B (Company)
- Contact (Company)
- I'll Cover You (Reprise) [Company]
Jewish Faith Edit
Mark also consistently hints toward his being Jewish. In “Tango: Maureen”, he tells Joanne he learned to tango "With Nanette Himmelfarb. The Rabbi's daughter at the Scarsdale Jewish Community Center." In addition, “Voicemail #3” reveals that Mark might be half Jewish, with his father of another faith, as his mother says: “Even your father says mazeltov.” However, Cohen is said to be a traditionally Jewish surname, so the prospect of Mark’s father also being Jewish has not been written off entirely. Also: in “La Vie Boheme”, Roger makes a reference to the “High Holy Days,” in relation to Mark. Finally, in the early minutes of New Years Day (and Act 2), Mark scolds Maureen, “Look, this is not my Bar Mitzvah, give it back to me!” Obviously, his having a Bar Mitzvah is evidence of Jewishness.