Press Releases Index

April 27, 2005
CONTACT: Jette Englund
908-737-NEWS (6397)

"Rent" Star Daphne Rubin-Vega to Receive Honorary Degree At Kean University Commencement on May 12 At PNC Bank Arts Center

UNION, N.J. ––– When Kean University confers degrees on some 1,600 undergraduate students at Commencement on May 12, at 9:30 a.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., former Rent star Daphne Rubin-Vega will receive a degree of her own – a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) honorary degree. Rubin-Vega provided a major box-office attraction to the Kean University Wilkins Theatre for the 2004-2005 performing-arts season, when she and former Rent co-star Adam Pascal delighted a standing-room-only audience singing solos and duets covering everything from classic show tunes to rock 'n' roll. During her visit, she gave career advice backstage to Kean students, displaying her enthusiasm for mentoring young people.

The bright lights of Broadway first shone upon Daphne Rubin-Vega with her debut as Mimi in the original cast of Rent, for which she won the Theater World Award, as well as Tony and Drama Desk nominations for best actress in a musical. Since then, her meteoric rise to fame has seen her star opposite some of the entertainment industry’s best performers on both stage and on film.

Born in Panama, Rubin-Vega moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village with her mother and stepfather when she was a child. Her career was launched early when she began singing with a girl group called Pajama Party, and an all-Latino comedy troupe called El Barrio USA that performed at Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City.

Since leaving the cast of Rent in 1997, Rubin-Vega has excelled as a recording artist and stage and screen actress, releasing an album of original music titled Souvenirs, as well as several singles. She won the Blockbuster Award for her role as Kevin Bacon's police partner in the movie Wild Things, and she played Robert De Niro's love interest in Flawless. Rubin-Vega was also honored as the Best Actress in a Feature Film from the New York Independent Film and Video Festival of 2001, recognizing her performance in Skeleton Woman. She has since been in three independent films, including Justice, which ran at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2003.

In 2001, Rubin-Vega returned to Broadway once again as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show at the Circle in the Square Theater. She also played the role of Sofia in Karen Hartman's off-Broadway play Gum, was Sofia in Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano, and was most recently nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Conchita in Cruz's 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics. Rubin-Vega continues to perform as a solo artist as well as with her band, DRV, and is currently at work on a forthcoming album.

For more information, please contact Lindsay Gambini, executive director of the Office of Theatre Management and Programming, at 908-737-4081, or via e-mail at

For directions to PNC Arts Center, please visit