To help assuage her fears, Thoms met Idina Menzel, who plays [Maureen], [Joanne]'s love interest in Rent. Thoms saw Menzel in her Tony Award-winning role in Wicked, then the two went to dinner. Thoms was so nervous, her palms were sweating. But when she told Menzel about her apprehensions, the Rent veteran replied, "Oh, [Tracie Thoms], we're all scared. ... It's been eight years since we've played these roles."
How well did Thoms fit in? A strong indication came during the rehearsal for tomorrow's appearance on The View. The other seven cast members were already lined up behind microphones when Thoms dashed in and took her place between Adam Pascal and Wilson Jermaine Heredia. The cast immediately launched into "Seasons of Love." After Thoms nailed that final high C, Heredia and Pascal leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, then Jesse L. Martin stepped away from his mike and did the same.
On Monday, Thoms was back in her hometown attending a screening of Rent at the Senator Theatre to benefit the Baltimore School for the Arts. Thoms looked movie-star chic in a red cocktail dress and full-length fur coat as she posed by the new Rent sidewalk block bearing her signature.