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Jesse L. Martin & Adam Pascal Added to Rent Q&A, Nov. 22

Jesse L. Martin and Adam Pascal will join Anthony Rapp, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Tracie Thoms for a Q&A session following a special sneak-peek screening of Revolution Studios' and Columbia Pictures' production of Jonathan Larson's Rent, directed by Chris Columbus, at Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in New York City on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 at 7:00 PM. All proceeds from the event will go to the non-profit organization Friends In Deed.

Tickets, which can be purchased at or by calling 212.864.5400 Tues-Sun from 11 AM to 7 PM, are $75 and $50. In the tradition of Rent, the first 2 rows of seats will be sold by Lottery Rush at 5 PM, $20 each, 2 per person, cash only.

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A silent auction will take place between 6:30 and 7:00 PM. Items for auction will include movie posters signed by the entire cast.

Jonathan Larson's revolutionary rock opera Rent is based on Puccini's classic opera La Boheme and was partly inspired by the author's experiences with Friends In Deed, a crisis center providing emotional support for anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening physical illnesses, the caregivers, family and friends of those who are ill, and those dealing with grief & bereavement. All of Friends In Deed's services are free of charge.

Mr. Larson attended Friends In Deed meetings in the early 90s accompanying his high school friend Matthew O'Grady, who was HIV+. His experiences at the meetings are directly reflected in the Life Support scene he wrote for Rent. Three of the names used in that scene were names of some of Mr. Larson's friends who have since passed away.

Cy O'Neal, cofounder of Friends In Deed, was asked by Mr. Larson to speak to the cast of the production during its workshop phase. She was later informed by cast member Anthony Rapp about Mr. Larson's death.

The messages espoused in Rent are very closely associated to those promoted by Friends In Deed. "We're about love, not fear, which is what I think the show is about," Ms. O'Neal has said. "It's such a source of joy for a lot of us here, that connection of the heart we have with that show. 'No day but today' - in truth, that's all there is."

This event is being produced by Brian J. Heck and Caroline Rieders of Symphony Space, with the assistance of Mr. Rapp, and Robert McNamara of Friends In Deed, with generous support from Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures.

Rent tells the story of a group of bohemians struggling to live and pay their rent in the gritty background of New York's East Village. "Measuring their lives in love," these starving artists strive for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty, illness and the AIDS epidemic.

One of the longest running shows on Broadway, Rent was the winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Obie Award, the New York Drama Critics Award, four Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards.

Now Rent is being brought to the big screen in a motion picture directed by Chris Columbus. The cast features many of the original Broadway performers who originated the roles in 1996, along with several other notable actors.

Symphony Space is a performing arts center on Manhattan's Upper West Side, beloved in New York City for events such as the Wall to Wall music marathons and celebrated around the country for its Selected Shorts broadcasts on public radio. Since its founding in 1978 in an abandoned movie theatre, Symphony Space has become known for producing and presenting free and low-cost programs that represent the cultures of New York City in all their variety, showcasing the performing arts, literature and film at their liveliest and most accessible.

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