In both the film and stage versions of Rent, the story begins on Christmas Eve. At the time, Mark (Anthony Rapp) and Roger (Adam Pascal) are among a group of protesters screaming that they won’t pay their rent despite getting eviction notices. That night, they confront their ex-roommate, Benny (Taye Diggs), who married into the family responsible for their possible evictions.
Later, Roger meets a woman who makes him smile for the first time in years: A Cat Scratch club dancer named Mimi Marquez (Rosario Dawson). Additionally, Christmas Eve is the night Collins (Jesse L. Martin) meets Angel Dumott Chunard (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who becomes the one to “cover” him for most of the story. #IFYKYK.