|First appearance||Tune Up 1|
|Last appearance||Finale B|
|Portrayed by||See Actors|
|Occupation||Musician, Singer/Song Writer|
|Significant other(s)||April Ericson (formerly)|
Roger Davis is one of the main characters in RENT. He is based on the character Rodolfo in La Bohéme.
Roger is a struggling musician and ex-junkie who is HIV positive. He is having a hard time coping with the fact that he is going to die, and is hoping to write a successful, meaningful song before he dies. He is best friends with Mark, and was a former roommate of Maureen and Collins, who he appears to be good friends with.
His neighbour, Mimi, is in love with Roger, but he pushes her away initially as she reminds him of his ex-girlfriend April, who killed herself after finding out she was HIV positive. Roger later finds out that Mimi has AIDS too, and the two grow closer and start a relationship. Later, however, Roger finds out that Mimi once dated Benny, and ends their relationship to leave to Santa Fe; however he really breaks up with her because she is becoming seriously ill and it is becoming too much for him to handle. Deep down, Roger loves and cares for Mimi, but cannot bring himself to admit it.
On Christmas Eve at 9PM, Roger is seen tuning his guitar as his friend and roommate Mark begins his new documentary. Their other friend, Collins, is mugged on his way to their apartment, and to make matters worse, Mark and Roger receive a call from their landlord and former friend, Benny, who tells them that their rent is overdue and turns off their power. Mark and Roger refuse to pay the rent .
Mark leaves the apartment to find Collins, reminding Roger to take his AZT . It is revealed by Mark that Roger's former girlfriend, April, killed herself after finding out that both she and Roger were HIV positive. Roger, knowing that he will die soon, plans on writing a successful song before he dies . Suddenly, there is a knock at the door, and Mimi, a dancer living downstairs, asks Roger to light her candle ; she too has lost her electricity and heat. Mimi constantly blows out the candle and flirts with Roger, who, despite being attracted to her, does not feel like beginning a new relationship.
Later, Collins arrives at the apartment bearing gifts, and introduces Roger and Mark to his new "girlfriend" , a drag musician named Angel. Shortly after, Benny arrives with a deal; if they can convince Mark's ex-girlfriend, Maureen, to cancel a protest she is doing about the homeless, he will let them live in his new, rent-free studio, but they refuse. After Benny leaves, Angel and Collins invite Mark and Roger to attend a local Life Support group. Mark accepts, before leaving to deal with a technical problem at Maureen's performance space, but Roger declines. Soon after, Mimi returns, attempting to seduce Roger, who pushes her away . After kicking her out, he admits to his empty apartment his fears about dying from AIDS .
Roger and Mark have a brief talk , where Mark points out that Mimi got Roger out of the house. Roger admits that he got mad and had to get rid of her, and the two make their way to Maureen's protest. Along the way, they meet Mimi, who is seen buying drugs from her dealer. Roger apologises for the way he acted, and invites her to dinner after the protest, which she accepts. After the protest , Mimi's beeper goes off, reminding her to take her AZT, thus she and Roger both discover that they are both HIV positive, and they decide to start a relationship . Joanne, Maureen's new girlfriend, reveals that a riot has broken out and that Mark and Roger's apartment has been padlocked, but despite all of this, Mimi and Roger share their first kiss .
The new year has begun , and the Bohemians gather to break in. Just as they successfully manage to break in, Benny arrives , hoping to call a truce with the others. It is revealed that Mimi, who was his former girlfriend, convinced Benny to change his mind by seducing him, which Mimi denies. Roger is upset by the fact that Benny and Mimi used to date, but he and Mimi both apologize to each other.
Time passes, and by spring, Roger and Mimi's relationship is on the rocks. Roger considers leaving town, and Mimi has recently made a habit of coming home late, leading Roger to believe she is cheating on him with Benny. Mimi tries to tell the truth, saying she is not cheating and she is still using drugs, but cannot get the words out, and Roger leaves. Alone, they each sing of their love for each other , and eventually reconcile.
We are given a glimpse of the sex lives of all three couples (Roger and Mimi, Joanne and Maureen, and Angel and Collins), who all break up once again, and at the same time, Angel dies from AIDS around the same time as Halloween. The others speak at Angel's funeral, and afterwards, Roger says that he is leaving to go to Santa Fe, sparking an argument about comittment between him and Mimi, while Maureen and Joanne have a heated argument of their own for similar reasons. Collins eventually calms everyone down, saying they shouldn't be fighting on this day, and they all go their separate ways. Now alone, Mark confronts Roger about his behaviour towards Mimi, saying that Roger's feelings are not jealousy towards Benny, but fear of losing Mimi to AIDS. Mimi, who has overheard the conversation, comes to say goodbye to Roger as he leaves.
Roger reaches an artistic ephiphany finding his song in Mimi , and after spending some time alone in Santa Fe, returns to New York just in time for Christmas. Roger reveals that he has written a song, but has been unable to find Mimi . It is also revealed that Benny's wife, having found out about his affair with Mimi, has pulled Benny out of the East Village. Suddenly, Maureen and Joanne enter, carrying a seriously ill Mimi. She tells Roger that she loves him, before growing weaker. Roger holds Mimi close, singing the song he wrote for her , revealing his true feelings for her. Mimi appears to die, but suddenly awakens. The friends gather together, enjoying the time they have with each other, saying there is "no day but today ".
- Tune Up #1 (with Mark, Act 1)
- Tune Up #3 (with Mark, Act 1)
- Light My Candle (with Mimi, Act 1)
- I Should Tell You (with Mimi, Act 1)
- Without You (with Mimi, Act 2)
- What You Own (with Mark, Act 2)
Solos (In a Group Number)Edit
|Tune Up #2||Mark, Collins and Benny|
|Rent||Mark, Benny, Collins, Joanne and Company|
|Today 4 U||Collins, Mark and Angel|
|You'll See||Benny, Mark, Collins, and Angel|
|Another Day||Mimi, and Company|
|Christmas Bells||Coat Vendor, Collins, Angel, Mark, The Man, Mimi, Maureen and Company|
|La Vie Bohème||Mark, The Waiter, Benny, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne, Mr. Grey and Company|
|La Vie Bohème B||Maureen, Joanne, Bohemian girl, Mark, Angel and Company|
|Seasons of Love||Company|
|Happy New Year||Mark, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen and Joanne|
|Happy New Year B||Mark, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, Joanne and Benny|
|Seasons of Love B||Company|
|Contact||Angel and Company|
|I'll Cover You (Reprise)||Collins and Company|
|Goodbye Love||Mark, Mimi, Collins, Maureen, Joanne, and Benny|
|Finale||Mark, Collins, Maureen, Joanne, and Mimi|
Notable actors who have played the role of Roger include:
- Adam Pascal (Original Broadway cast, 2005 film and RENT Tour)
- Will Chase (Final Broadway performance)
- Aaron Tveit (Hollywood Bowl)
- Matt Shingledecker (Off-Broadway revival)
- Kaleb Wells (20th Anniversary Tour)
- Gerard Canonico (RENT Aruba,2017)
- Roger’s old band was called the Well Hungarians (In the Film adaption the name was changed to Mute, which was Adam Pascal's, who portrayed Roger, old band).