EXCLUSIVE: Daphne Rubin-Vega, the original Mimi in both the Off Broadway and Broadway landmark productions of Rent and coming off the Lin Manuel/Warner Bros. feature In The Heights, will appear in a major recurring role on the CW’s upcoming Riverdale off-shoot Katy Keene.
She’ll play Luisa, the mother of a central character, Katy’s roomie Jorge/Ginger. She’s described as a doting mother, a former Rockette and now owner, with her husband Luis, of a bodega in Washington Heights. She supports her son Jorge’s ambitions to make it on Broadway, but doesn’t know about his drag alter ego, Ginger.
The Jorge/Ginger character, played by Jonny Beauchamp, is a central figure on the series and one of at least two characters expected to perform musical numbers on every episode.
In the Katy Keene series pilot, recently screened at the Tribeca TV Festival, Jorge is a Broadway hopeful by day and, as Ginger, a drag performer by night. When his Broadway dreams begin to fizzle – he is, he says, “too gay for Broadway” – he’s encouraged by Katy to make the audition rounds not as Jorge but as Ginger.
Katy Keene is expected to debut during the CW’s winter/spring 2020 midseason.
Rubin-Vega was Tony-nominated in 1996 for originating on Broadway the lead female role of Mimi in Jonathan Larson’s Rent, which she’d debuted earlier that year Off Broadway to great acclaim. The actress received another Tony nomination in 2004 as featured actress in a play for Anna In The Tropics.
More recent credits include Broadway’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Blair Underwood, NBC’s Smash and Netflix’s Tales Of The City. Ruben-Vega was among the original Rent performers who made an end-of-show appearance on Fox’s Rent: Live last January.
Ruben-Vega is repped by Untitled and Amy Nickin.