Kiersey Clemons, Tinashe and Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert‘s Brandon Victor Dixon headline a star-studded cast of Fox’s upcoming live musical production of Rent. The rest of the cast includes Hamilton‘s Jordan Fisher, R&B singer and Empire star Mario, Grease: Live star Vanessa Hudgens, Nashville‘s Brennin Hunt and RuPaul’s Drag Race breakout star Valentina. The Greatest Showman‘s Keala Settle will also star in a special role to perform “Seasons of Love.”
The production retells Puccini’s La Bohème as a story set in New York City’s East Village. According to the description:
Rent tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Winner of four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.
Hudgens will play performance artist Maureen Johnson, and Clemons will play Joanne Jefferson, an Ivy League-educated lawyer and Maureen’s girlfriend. Dixon has been cast as Tom Collins, a computer scientist who comes back to New York after being expelled from MIT. Fisher will play aspiring filmmaker Mark Cohen, and Hunt is Roger Davis, Mark’s roommate and best friend as well as a musician struggling to make it big. Mario is cast as Benjamin Coffin III, who used to be Mark and Rogers’ roommate before becoming their landlord and is hounding them for their rent. Tinashe is Mimi Marquez, a dancer battling addiction, and Valentina is Angel Dumont Schunard, a lively drag queen and street percussionist.
The production will be broadcast from Fox Studios in Los Angeles and will be executive produced by Mark Platt, the estate of writer/composer Jonathan Larson and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino, Marla Levine and Scott Hemming. Michael Greif, who directed the original productions of Rent, will oversee stage direction. Other original Rent crew members include casting director Bernie Telsey and costume designer Angela Wendt.
Alex Rudzinski will act as the live television director with Kristoffer Diaz writing the musical’s television adaptation. Sonya Tayeh will choreograph; Stephen Oremus will produce as well as serve as musical director. Al Gurdon will serve as lighting designer, and Jason Sherwood will act as set designer.
The production will air January 27, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET live, with a tape delay for the West Coast.