Two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega first lit up Broadway with her debut as Mimi in the original cast of Rent. In the 1994 workshop, writer/composer Jonathan Larson declared her Mimi "the real thing," and the show began its first life off-Broadway at New York Theater Workshop before moving to The Nederlander in April 1996. For her work, she won a Theater World Award as well as Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations as Best Actress in a musical.
With her multifaceted acting career and some incredible theatre projects ahead of her, Rubin-Vega's latest endeavor is REDEMPTION SONGS (Sh-K-Boom Records), a much-anticipated collection of original and diversely classic songs.
"Some of these songs were written when I experienced deep losses and incredible firsts. I was inspired to write again. It was a very 'fertile' time for creativity," says Rubin-Vega. The result developed into a form of personal redemption; a vibrant and sophisticated collection of pop, Latin folk, rock and reggae influenced songs that are soulful, passionate and very reflective of Rubin-Vega herself.
As a child, Daphne moved to NYC's Greenwich Village from Panama. It was in the center of this bohemia that Daphne discovered her passion for music and performing.
"I was in the seventh grade when almost overnight I realized I was quite popular with the girls in school, and my house was turning into the hot after school hang out," Rubin-Vega recalls. "It didn't take long to figure out that it was because my brothers' band played in the basement almost every afternoon," she added. "Shortly thereafter, I started glomming the mic and singing lead."
In her teens, Daphne found herself at an Atlantic Studios vocal session begging legendary producer Arif Mardin to let her sing with David Bowie on the soundtrack to George Lucas' film, "Labyrinth." After attending a birthday party for Mardin’s son Joe, she listed all the celebrated singers in her resume; having sung "happy birthday" with them. With that credit under her belt, she joined Pajama Party, the girl group with the infamous freestyle single, "Yo No Se." She recorded two albums on Atlantic Records with the group before going solo to write and record singles for the indie club label, Maxi. Her single, "I Found It" topped the Billboard Dance and Club Play charts. At the same time, the LAByrinth Theater Company was founded and she became an early member.
In 1997, Daphne Rubin-Vega cut her first album of original music, SOUVENIRS for Polygram's now defunct Mercury label. It was the fans of this album that she credits for getting her band started. Fate also intervened in the form of Joan Jett, her co-star and roommate during Rubin-Vega's run as Magenta in 2000's The Rocky Horror Show. "She basically told me to stop bitching, get up off my ass and start a band," says Rubin-Vega. "So I did."
Rubin-Vega went on to play straight-laced detective Gloria Perez in the camp-noir thriller "Wild Things," starring Kevin Bacon and Matt Dillon, for which she won a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actress/Suspense. Other film credits include Robert De Niro's love interest Tia, in the film "Flawless" and her award-winning performance of Olya in the indie cult feature "Skeleton Woman."
Daphne's 2003 role as Canary Mary in Susan Lori Parks' Fucking A at the Public Theater got her a Lucille Lortel Best Featured Actress nomination, and in 2004, Rubin-Vega received her second Tony nomination for best featured actress (play) for her role as Conchita in Nilo Cruz' Pulitzer Prize winning Anna in the Tropics with Jimmy Smits.
Rubin-Vega is preparing for the end of a very busy year. This April, she ended her run as Martirio in Bernarda Alba at Lincoln Center. In September, she finished her star turn in The New Group's summer 2006 production of Everythings Turning Into Beautiful.
In October, the same month as the release of REDEMPTION SONGS, Rubin-Vega will play Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables.
In January 2007, she will star with Academy Award winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Public Theater/LAByrinth production of Bob Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating.