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Actor Buys Into 'Rent'

January 3, 2008 By:
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Talk about your Ark of triumph: Jed Resnick has made it from "Torah! Torah! Torah" at Brown University to the Academy of Music, where he's paying his "Rent" thanks to a starring role in the tour of the multiple prize-winning Broadway musical, playing Jan. 3 to 6.

"Mark Cohen is easy to access," says Resnick of his bohemian baritone of a filmmaker stage sib, whose documentary on his impoverished village people buds will one day make him the focus of life itself.

"I love him; I've been in touch with [the character] for so long, a year and a half. He's neurotic and Jewish. That's who I am!"

And so much more. Or less.

"I haven't struggled as much as Mark, but I'm sure that's coming," says Resnick. "I count my blessings."

Count the acclaim, too, for a rockin' role in what is inarguably one of Broadway's best attempts to make its way into the modern music scene. The "La Boheme"-based Broadway hit has beaten all expectations, attracting audiences of dyed red and purple hair more than the blue hairs making up so much of theater's mainstay at matinees.

A Simple Story
"It's all really a simple story about love and community," says the actor of the show conceived and written by Jonathan Larson, whose death just before the musical's opening provided dramatic aftershocks for the original closely knit cast and crew.

Eleven seasons of love have passed since, in which the Pulitzer Prize/Tony Award-winning musical has proven to be muse for many internationally. What helps is that "it's hopeful in its many stories of friendship," notes Resnick.

Larson's "bi-lined" play plays on the characters' bisexual, lesbian, gay and transgendered transformations over time, struggling with poverty with a passion that feeds the image of a starving artist.

The actor's never been starved for attention: "My parents have always supported what I've wanted to do," says the Long Island native of his longings to be in the business since he was in elementary school.

Making the grade counts much when his siblings have injected the family with their own sense of success: Jed's twin and two older brothers are all doctors, as is his dad.

But for someone who scored a hefty 1500 on his college boards, theater's boards provide their own education. There will be additional shots to come for Jed that don't involve a personal medical history; indeed, after the tour of "Rent," he can envision another lease on life on stage.

There are producers interested in his collegiate "Torah! Torah! Torah!" -- "a funny show about a botched Bar Mitzvah."

Does "Torah" point to his own Bar Mitzvah mishap? "La Vie Boheme?"

"La Vie Bar Mitzvah!"

"No, mine went off fine," he laughs.

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