Maia Nkenge Wilson and Yassmin Alers: Take Me or Leave Me
Maia Nkenge Wilson is an actress, who has appeared on Broadway, in "The Book of Mormon", "Waitress", "9 to 5", "Shrek the Musical", "The Color Purple", and "Rent". She is also known for appearances in the films "Frozen" (2013), "Top Five" (2014), and "Frozen II" (2019).
Yassmin Alers is also an actress, who has appeared on Broadway, in "On Your Feet!", "Chess", "The Rocky Horror Show", "The Capeman", and "Rent". On television, she has appeared in the series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", "The Code", "Madam Secretary" and "The Americans".
On June 11, 2018, as part of the "Broadway at The Pierre" cabaret series in association with Broadway Sings for Pride, a concert was held at Two E Bar/Lounge — the sophisticated saloon located inside the New York City luxury hotel, The Pierre. The concert (titled "Encore") featured a performance by Wilson and Alers, backed by pianist and musical director Charles Santoro. The concert was scheduled on the day after the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, further celebrating the talent and legacy of the Great White Way.
Wilson and Alers performed the song "Take Me or Leave Me" during the concert, where Shefik served as Videographer. "Take Me or Leave Me" is a song from the musical "Rent", written by American composer Jonathan Larson. In the original 1996 Broadway production, the song was performed by Idina Menzel as Maureen and Fredi Walker as Joanne.
In the 2005 film adaptation, "Take Me or Leave Me" is performed by Menzel, reprising her role as Maureen, and Tracie Thoms as Joanne, since Walker was considered too old for the role. Remixes of the song were released on April 11, 2006.
Menzel has performed the song on a few concerts and tours, including "Barefoot at the Symphony Tour", "Idina Menzel: Live at Radio City", "Idina Menzel: World Tour", and as a duet with randomly-chosen audience members. She also performed the song at the end of a curtain call for "If/Then" in 2014.
The song has been covered numerous times, with The Atlantic calling it a "modern musical theatre staple". Darren Criss and Aaron Tveit covered the song on a Skype conversation to promote Elsie Fest. In 2016, Anika Larsen and Keala Settle performed the song for "From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando", in support of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. It was covered on the television series "Glee", by the characters Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) in the episode "Comeback". Kevin Fallon of The Atlantic praised the cover as the highlight of the episode.
- Videographer: Shefik
Last Updated: February 6, 2023